A look at the issues that those who govern the country will face during Barack Obama's second term. Up now: the Republican Party.
At the start of President Barack Obama's second term, the Republican Party finds itself lacking both a standard-bearer and a singular vision. No shortage of Republicans are jockeying to fill that leadership vacuum, and the divisions between the establishment and insurgent wings of the parties persist.
It's a far different place than where Republicans were four years ago. They vigorously opposed Obama's first-term agenda and were energized by tea party voters who responded in force to the president's health care agenda. That helped the GOP retake the House in 2010. But, two years later, Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, failed to mobilize all parts of the party's base.
So now, the GOP is trying to figure out how to recover from Romney's defeat and from popular vote losses in five of the past six presidential elections. It's also trying to determine how to cobble together a broader coalition of voters, and specifically attract minority voters who are more heavily than before favoring Democrats over Republicans. And it hopes to tap into a new generation of leaders to help rebuild.
As Republicans chart a new course, they have history on their side. The president's party tends to lose seats in Congress during the midterm elections of a second term. And the same party has won the White House in three consecutive elections only once in the past 60 years.
— Ken Thomas — Twitter http://twitter.com/AP_Ken_Thomas
Inauguration Watch follows the events of President Barack Obama's second inaugural. Look for short items and photos throughout the day.