Former Advisor Says Obama Has Learned to Use the Power of His Office

Mark Alexander, Seton Hall University Professor and former senior advisor to President Obama, says the president’s inaugural speech called for the nation to move forward in tackling the tough problems ahead. He tells NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider the president has been off to a great start since the election and that he is someone who has learned a great deal from his first term in office.

Alexander was effusive in his praise of President Obama’s speech. “The words were I though brilliant,” he said. “I thought he tied in the whole message of us looking forward but he tied it in with the deep historical roots of the American people and the American system of government.”


Some Republicans have criticized the address as sounding like a campaign speech. Alexander shot back that “if Republicans are going to take partisan shots, they’re going back to the playback that really wasn’t successful for four years.”

Since the election, Alexander says the president has been very clear that he isn’t going to give in to the partisan politics that marked his first term.

“He’s saying we’re going to make decisions — sometimes I’m going to get the win on the votes and sometimes I’m not going to get the win — but we’re going to move forward and we’re going to make decisions and help people as they live everyday, help working class Americans with the problems they face everyday and I think he’s ready to make sure that we push to make good things happen for people,” said Alexander.

The Barack Obama that the country will see the second time around is one that is wiser and more experienced, according to Alexander

“I think he’s the type of person who has learned a lot from the last four years and he’ll be more effective at using the bully pulpit.”

Along with the bully pulpit, Alexander says the power of the presidency comes in many forms such as an invitation to the White House, a trip on Air Force One, or a personal phone call. “Things like that make people feel like this is the president of the United States. Forty-four times that we’ve had a president. It’s not a common person. So using that power of the office, using the power of persuasion, using the power of the bully pulpit — I think he’s already doing that better.