So let's take a listen and see what he's been saying.
First of all, there was his interview with Michael Scherer.
Scherer: Coming out of 2008, there was talk from you and from some of your staff that you could bring [your campaign's] sort of grassroots movement, the organization, to Washington. And 2009 ended up being very much an inside-Washington mirror. [The year] 2012 is different. But if you’re able to get a second term, have you thought about ways of doing what the sort of promise of 2008 was that was never achieved in terms of bringing larger numbers of people to have a voice in the political process?Next was his emphasis on citizenship in his speech at the Democratic convention.
Obama: I’ve given that a lot of thought. And I do think that we had the best of intentions in 2009 and 2010. Again, we had to move very quickly, which meant that our biggest concern was how do we get 60 votes right now to get this done.
We won’t be in that same kind of crisis, putting-out-the-fire mentality, in 2013–2014. There are a handful of big issues that we’re going to have to deal with...
But for me to get those accomplished, I do think I’m going to need to bring in the voices of the American people much more systematically, much more regularly.
Finding the right mechanisms to do that is something that we’re going to spend a lot of time thinking about. Obviously, the Internet and the digital age helps. We’ve been able to do that on our campaign. We now need to translate that more to how our government works. But I think the American people are ready for it.
The one thing I feel very strongly about, as I travel around the country, is that as anxious as people feel about the recession we’ve just gone through and the challenges that we’re getting from around the world, Americans are really tough, resilient and decent, and they’ve got good instincts. The more they are actively participating in this process, the better off we’re going to be.
But we also believe in something called citizenship — citizenship, a word at the very heart of our founding, a word at the very essence of our democracy, the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations...And then he talked with Michael Lewis about how to overcome Republican obstructionism.
As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us, together through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. That's what we believe.
It’s not a fear-versus-a-nice-guy approach that is the choice. The question is: How do you shape public opinion and frame an issue so that it’s hard for the opposition to say no.Finally, here is what he said yesterday at the Univision forum.
I think that I’ve learned some lessons over the last four years, and the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside. That’s how I got elected, and that’s how the big accomplishments like health care got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out. That’s how we were able to cut taxes for middle-class families.So don't assume you're going to be able to grab those slippers and relax after we get him re-elected or that the time is coming when we can just just sit back and let President Obama do all the work. The Community Organizer-in-Chief is promising us that we're going to have to stay in this thing. In other words, he's going to work to keep the conversation going - the same thing he talked about way back in 2005.
So something that I’d really like to concentrate on in my second term is being in a much more constant conversation with the American people so that they can put pressure on Congress to help move some of these issues forward.
Our goal should be to stick to our guns on those core values that make this country great, show a spirit of flexibility and sustained attention that can achieve those goals, and try to create the sort of serious, adult, consensus around our problems that can admit Democrats, Republicans and Independents of good will. This is more than just a matter of "framing," although clarity of language, thought, and heart are required. It's a matter of actually having faith in the American people's ability to hear a real and authentic debate about the issues that matter.Yep, that's the guy I'm voting for and what I expect in return. The promises he keeps will be the ones we help him achieve.