- The Washington Times - Friday, December 18, 2015

A supremely confident President Obama said Friday he’s “never been more optimistic about a year ahead” than he is right now, and he made the case that 2016 could be a landmark year in which he is able to enact even more of his agenda before leaving office.

At his traditional year-end press conference, Mr. Obama pointed to the recent global climate-change deal, the $1 trillion spending deal on Capitol Hill that preserves many of the administration’s priorities, the Iran nuclear deal and diplomatic reboot with Cuba, and other accomplishments as proof that he believes he can leave a lasting mark during his final years in the White House.

“I said at the beginning of this year that interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter and we are only halfway through,” he said. “I plan on doing everything I can with every minute or every day I have left as president to deliver on behalf of the American people. Since taking office, I’ve never been more optimistic about a year ahead than I am right now.”

Specifically, the president is expected to take executive action on gun control, to push Congress to finally close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, enact criminal justice reform and hike the minimum wage in 2016, among other wish-list items.

Critics quickly blasted the president’s show of confidence and said he should instead focus on the terror threats facing the U.S. today.

“With the terror threat as great as it’s been since 9/11 and [the Islamic State] gaining ground, President Obama’s self-serving victory lap looks incredibly out of touch and reinforces why seven in ten Americans say the country is on the wrong track and want a completely different approach from the next administration,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “Two weeks on the golf course isn’t going to get us any closer to defeating radical Islamic terrorism or keeping our country safe from another attack.

SEE ALSO: Obama threatens Congress: Close Guantanamo, or I’ll do it on my own

The president now heads to Hawaii for a two-week holiday vacation.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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