JULIE PACE,Associated Press
The president is scheduled to leave Monday evening after a 10-day vacation. He will arrive in Washington on Tuesday morning, just hours before Republican presidential candidates square off in the Iowa caucuses, the first nominating contest of the 2012 campaign.
Obama plans to make his presence in the campaign known quickly.
He will host a live web chat with supporters in Iowa on Tuesday. The next day, he will travel to Cleveland to talk about the economy, the top issue in the race so far.
Aides said Obama spent time on vacation brainstorming ideas for his Jan. 24 State of the Union address, where he will lay out an agenda that will serve as the basis for his campaign message
Obama returns to Washington facing further debate on extending payroll tax cuts, the same issue that consumed Washington for the final days of December. Congress broke through a stalemate just days before Christmas, agreeing to extend the cuts for two months. Lawmakers will get back to work later this month to negotiate a full-year extension, a proposal Obama supports.
White House officials say the tax cut extension is the last “must-do” legislative item on Obama’s agenda this year. His strategy for his fourth year in office will focus on taking executive actions that do not need approval from lawmakers as he seeks to break away from a deeply unpopular Congress.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.