President Obama’s State of the Union address will sound a lot more like his re-election stump speech and less like his second inaugural address, aides familiar with the process said.
In the annual presidential address to Congress, President Barack Obama will focus on boosting job creation and economic growth at a time of high unemployment, underscoring the degree to which the economy could threaten his ability to pursue second-term priorities such as gun control, immigration policy and climate change, says the Huff Post.
These themes will dominate and serve, aides said, as a springboard to place the economic message above all others.
“The potential success of his second term is hugely dependent on the rate at which the economy grows,” said Ruy Teixeira, a political scientist with the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress.
“There’s no problem the Democrats have that can’t be solved with faster growth. Conversely, there’s not much they’ll be able to do if growth stays slow.”
“The early themes of the second term have been focused on the constituent groups that helped get the president re-elected,” said a Democratic strategist with deep ties to the White House. “But the economy is still the No. 1 issue for the country and I’ve worried the president was missing that.”
Obama’s State of the Union marks his second high-profile speech to the nation in about three weeks, after his inaugural address Jan. 21 that opened his second term.
White House aides see the two speeches as complementary, with Tuesday’s address aimed at providing specifics to back up some of the Inauguration Day’s lofty liberal rhetoric.
Obama previewed his economic growth plan in a speech to House of Representatives Democrats this week, telling them he would stress the importance of education, development of clean energy, and infrastructure.
A look back at Obama’s first three State of the Union speeches, plus the address to a joint session of Congress in 2009, suggests a similar thematic pattern: he starts with the economy, moves to education and then, in the middle section of the speech, addresses the deficit.
In 2012, Obama spent just five minutes on the debt — less time than he spent on partisanship (five-and-a-half minutes) or foreign policy (six minutes).
Accoridng to the Washington Post, he should flip that script in this State of the Union and spend the bulk of his time talking about the deficit.
Obama has urged Congress to take steps to postpone harsh government spending cuts slated to take effect on March 1, and the White House took pains on Friday to describe how the cuts would affect ordinary Americans’ lives, reports Reuters.
Obama has said he is willing to cut a “big deal” with Republicans to trim spending on the Medicare and Social Security programs for the elderly, but has insisted in ending long-standing tax breaks for oil companies, private equity firms and corporate jet owners to create more revenue for government.
“I am prepared, eager and anxious to do a big deal, a big package that ends this governance by crisis where every two weeks or every two months or every six months we are threatening this hard-won recovery,” he said last week.