The Economy And Politics To Dominate State Of The Union Address: President Barack Obama will make the domestic economy the centerpiece of his last State of the Union address before he seeks re-election in November.
The speech is expected to call for sweeping initiatives to bolster the U.S. manufacturing sector and the labor and housing markets, and seek broad reform of the tax code.
At the same time, Obama will undoubtedly be making a case that his shepherding of the economy for the past three years warrants another four-year term.
That case was made slightly easier for the president in recent months as the unemployment rate has unexpectedly dropped to its lowest level — 8.5% — since early in Obama’s term.
The economy — and the unemployment rate as its most widely watched gauge — is certain to be the central focus of the presidential campaign.
It’s unlikely any large initiatives will be approved by Congress in an election year, a point certainly not lost on the president. That should open the door for him to call for an array of big picture reforms without any realistic belief of their passage.
The speech will be delivered before a joint session of Congress at 9 p.m. EST. Indiana governor Mitch Daniels will give the Republican response. (Watch it live on the FOX Business Network.)
Analysts believe Obama set the tone for tonight’s speech during an address in Kansas in December in which he described America being divided by economic inequalities.
Using populist themes that closely echoed the rallying cries of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, Obama has suggested the U.S. economic playing field has grown uneven. In effect, the president has complained that the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. Continue Reading…