Obama will strike a tone of compromise and accountability during his public remarks Wednesday, promising to work with Republicans who are interested in working with him. He’s gone almost two years without a major legislative achievement, leaving him “very willing” to start cutting deals, a senior administration official said, possibly on trade, corporate taxes and patent reform. Still, this posture isn’t much different than the one he’s projected for years.

At the same time, Obama won’t back down from using his administrative powers, including plans to issue an executive order on immigration that could be the most aggressive unilateral action of his presidency. He’ll adhere to a progressive agenda that, officials said, will keep the base excited, position his party to win back the Senate and hold the White House in 2016, and seal his legacy. And he will continue to use the bully pulpit to promote liberal issues, such as stemming climate change, that stand no chance of passing Congress on his watch but might under his successor.

“You can’t lose your base,” a second senior administration official said. “There are policy things we are going to have to support where the base isn’t there. But you’ve got to keep your eye on your base.”