A package of legislation could include bills to make voting easier across the country and a constitutional amendment to invalidate the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which allowed corporations, labor unions and other interest groups to spend unlimited amounts of money on behalf of candidates.
Asked two months before Election Day what he would do about “the corrupting influence” of money in politics, Obama said he would “seriously consider” such a push, noting that “even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”
Some state efforts to make it more difficult for people to vote and the long lines Tuesday outside some polling stations — many of them in urban neighborhoods where Obama was expected to do well — have drawn calls over the campaign and in its immediate aftermath for an overhaul of U.S. election laws.
In his victory remarks, Obama thanked the audience and others watching the broadcast of the event “whether you voted for the first time or waited in line for a very long time.”
“By the way, we have to fix that,” he said to loud applause.
How Obama staffs his White House and Cabinet agencies to pursue his goals will become clear sooner rather than later.
A Cabinet that has been stable during the first four years of his presidency is about to undergo a broad turnover. Of the 15 department secretaries, 13 have remained in place, leaving a number of them worn out.
If recent history is a guide, Obama will make most high-level staff changes in the next six weeks. President George W. Bush, who had the same stability in his first-term Cabinet, named nine new department secretaries between Election Day and the end of the year.
Before Obama’s win, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner made clear they intended to leave after the first term, setting in motion a search for their successors inside and outside the administration.
U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice had been considered a leading candidate to replace Clinton. But Rice’s involvement in the administration’s shifting account of the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, may have undermined her candidacy.
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who helped Obama prepare for the debates with Romney, is another contender to head the State Department, as is national security adviser Thomas E. Donilon, who served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Warren Christopher.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is expected to retire, although he may stay in his post until the confrontation with Congress over the looming automatic budget cuts is resolved. The Pentagon faces $55 billion in across-the-board cuts early next year unless Congress and the White House find a way to offset them.
One Democratic contender to replace Panetta is Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter. Carter, who holds a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford, served in the Clinton administration as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy.
Michele Flournoy, who served for three years as undersecretary of defense for policy, resigned in February to spend more time with her three school-age children. But she appeared again during the campaign as a public advocate and campaign adviser for Obama on national security issues.
The understated White House chief of staff Jacob J. Lew, a former Office of Management and Budget director, is a leading candidate to replace Geithner in a second Obama term.
But Lew is also valuable in his current job heading into potentially difficult fiscal negotiations with Congress. A former top aide to House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill (D-Mass.), Lew is known as a skilled negotiator with credibility across the aisle on Capitol Hill.