The lame duck is loose. Little more than two years before the moment he stands next to his successor at the presidential inauguration of 2017, President Barack Obama is feeling unshackled from the constraints of eyeing the next election cycle after last month's disastrous midterms for Democrats.
Simply put, top White House officials say, the President is on a mission to get stuff done.
From his dramatic decision to open up diplomatic relations with Cuba to his executive actions on immigration, Obama no longer has to worry about the hand-wringing of endangered Senate Democrats concerned with reelection.
"I think it's absolutely true," former White House press secretary and CNN political contributor Jay Carney said. "Having lost (the Senate), it does provide some liberation to him."