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Look out, GOP: Why Obama doesn't need to make nice

It looks like President Obama is done playing nice.

It looks like President Obama is done playing nice.

The commander-in-chief is acting as if he believes he has a big mandate for his next term, argued Hardball’s Chris Matthews on Thursday.

He pointed to President Obama telling  Republicans on Monday to not even think about using the debt ceiling as leverage. And then, there’s the president’s big push for Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary, showing he’s willing to battle those who disagree with Hagel’s record on Iraq and Iran. Finally, there’s Obama’s sweeping gun-control proposals. He urged Americans on Wednesday to confront their representatives to stand up to groups like the National Rifle Association.

“What’s more important? Doing whatever it takes to get an ‘A’ Grade from the gun lobby that funds their campaigns, or giving parents some peace of mind when they drop their child off for first grade,” the president said after unveiling his proposals.

Democratic strategist Bob Shrum told Matthews that Obama “believes he’s won a mandate--and he has,” pointing out polls showing that Americans support the president’s stance on taxes, the debt ceiling and universal background checks for purchasing guns. Obama, Shrum said, “knows what he wants to do, he’s very focused and he has the country with him. Some of this stuff is going to be tough to get through Congress...but he’s going to make real progress I think because of what he believes and because he's got the country with him."

The Newtown shooting “changed everything,” said former Republican National Committee chairman and msnbc political analyst Michael Steele.  “Since the election, it's probably been the best period the president has had in the last four years…He’s in sync with the country and the country’s in sync with him.” The GOPer also had a question for his party: “Are you prepared for this Barack Obama? You didn’t seem to be able to handle the first one who now kind of has the wind in his sails going into a second term. "