By Amy Hansen – January 20, 2013 

John King knows politics.

As CNN’s chief national correspondent stationed in Washington D.C., King has had a front row seat to covering history as it unfolds. And that included President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009.

“The day before the Inauguration four years ago, if you walked around the mall as I did, there were huge crowds,” he said. “Many of them African Americans who were crying. They wanted to see everything.”


While King acknowledged that the second term is a big accomplishment for the Obama administration, he said that issues such as the budget and Social Security will be big talking points during the President’s second term, but the spotlight will mainly be focused on two topics.

“If he can do a big immigration reform and a big healthcare reform,” he said. “In modern times, two signature items like that, that’s a pretty good legacy.”

However, King said that President Obama is under a time crunch to focus on achieving those big reforms.

“He’s the most powerful guy in the world, but sometimes the bouncing bingo balls of American politics will overshadow him,” King explained. “Soon enough, he’s got a year or 18 months, maybe two years if he’s lucky, but then other events will start taking our attention away.”

One of those events will be the 2016 presidential race.  While the dust has barely settled on this year’s election, King said the wheels are already turning on both sides of the aisle for possible future candidates.  Big names on the Republican side include Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

“The Republican Party is going through this soul searching because they just lost another national election,” he explained.

The Democrats may have some up-and-coming state governors take a look at the presidency, but King said that he believes that it will come down to two well-known public figures…Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Joe Biden is already running,” he said. “Will Hillary Clinton run? She says no today, but will she say no in a year or eighteen months when they come to her and say, ‘you can raise more money, the Republicans are still a mess, you can be the first woman president, your whole term as Secretary of State was about woman’s empowerment in the world, how can you pass up that opportunity?’”

While the general American public might not be focusing on the next round of elections right now, King said there’s one person who’s already taking a look towards the ticking clock.

“The guy trying to govern knows that if he wants to get big things done he better get most of them done before we turn our attention to who’s next,” King said about President Obama.