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Mr. Obama himself has yet to claim an election mandate to raise taxes on high-income earners.

Overall, he has taken a more low-key approach postelection than his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, who followed up his re-election in 2004 with a news conference and a Cabinet meeting two days later, laying out a full agenda for his second term and claiming he earned the political capital to see it through.

But many of Mr. Bush’s goals for his second term, such as overhauling Social Security and comprehensive immigration reform, didn’t pan out, and Mr. Obama and his top aides appear leery of claiming the upper hand.

The president met Tuesday with liberal advocates to talk about his agenda, and has a Friday meeting scheduled with congressional leaders to begin talking about the fiscal cliff.

David Sherfinski contributed to this article.