Gun control has been a thornier issue. Many Democrats are reluctant to embrace Obama's call for banning certain weapons. But Obama has argued that other proposals, such as universal background checks, have broad public support.
Vice President Joe Biden, addressing House lawmakers at the retreat Wednesday, said they can support the measures he and Obama are proposing without fear they'll be booted from office. He urged them not to learn the wrong lesson from the 1994 election, when Democrats lost control of Congress after supporting a ban on assault weapons that has since expired.
"I'm here to tell you the world has changed," Biden said. "Public attitudes have changed since 1994. Social media has changed. The ability to misrepresent our positions has changed."
On fiscal issues, Obama is calling on Congress to pass a short-term package of spending cuts and tax revenue to give lawmakers time to negotiate a broader deficit-reduction deal and to avoid deep spending cuts that are set to automatically kick in on March 1.