“The aloofness has definitely hurt him,” said one top Democratic strategist, adding that for Republicans, “It’s so much easier to talk crap about someone if you don’t know them.”

But observers and those close to the White House expect that all to change during a second term. They anticipate a more engaging Obama, who will work with lawmakers on everything from the so-called “fiscal cliff” to immigration reform.

“The signal I’ve gotten from the White House is that they realize they need to do more outreach,” said Jamal Simmons, another Democratic strategist. “The administration not only needs to do good policy, they need to make sure good politics is also being done.”

The president is inviting lawmakers to the White House this week to begin discussing a solution for the impending fiscal cliff of expiring tax rates and automatic spending cuts, which many economists warn could spark a recession.