President Barack Obama shakes hands with House Speaker John Boehner as Vice President Joe Biden watches before Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)
After articulating a decidedly progressive vision in his inaugural address last month, the question is whether President Obama will double down with an aggressive State of the Union Address on Tuesday or take a milder approach.
Expect an "aggressive" speech, Politico reports: "Privately, administration officials see it as an extension of Obama’s unabashedly provocative and progressive Jan. 21 inaugural address, their latest attempt to leverage favorable deals on the sequester and the debt ceiling comparable to the watershed deal Obama secured on increasing taxes on the wealthy."
Eleanor Clift, contributing editor at The Daily Beast, backs up that report, noting the use of props to illustrate gun regulation and immigration reform: "A senior White House official says the president will use the speech “to reinforce his commitment to expanding economic opportunity for middle-class families and those Americans striving to get there. It will be focused on the pocketbook issues that dominated the debate in his first term and proved decisive in the outcome of last year’s election.
"The White House is urging reporters to view the inaugural address and SOTU as 'two acts in the same play,' so that in addition to the middle-class economic focus Tuesday, 'the president will echo many of the themes in the inaugural address.' It is sure to be an emotional evening, with survivors of gun violence and young people striving for citizenship known as 'DREAMers' seated in the House chamber to symbolize policy changes under way."
An analysis from The Hill anticipates Obama will call for bipartisan work specifically on immigration and gun control while he can get it: "Lawmakers say the president’s Tuesday speech will set the tone for the next 11 months, which is all the time the parties have to pass big bills before they dig in for the next election. ...
"Obama’s high approval ratings are sure to fall, and bipartisanship on Capitol Hill is always fleeting. Timing is everything — and Obama’s time is now."
Nuclear arms reduction and national cyber security will be addressed in the speech, according to the New York Times: "Mr. Obama, administration officials say, is unlikely to discuss specific numbers in the address, but White House officials are looking at a cut that would take the arsenal of deployed weapons to just above 1,000. Currently there are about 1,700, and the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia that passed the Senate at the end of 2009 calls for a limit of roughly 1,550 by 2018. ...
"Within days of the State of the Union address, officials say, he plans to issue a long-anticipated presidential directive on combating cyberattacks aimed at American companies, financial institutions and critical infrastructure like the electric grid. The announcement comes at a moment of heightened attacks from China and, most recently, from Iran."
More specifics: federal spending on infrastructure, higher education and research, reports the Washington Post: "Several senior administration officials involved in the speech say he will use his fourth State of the Union address to talk about jobs after the national unemployment rate ticked up last month. He will propose ways to make college more affordable to more people. And, the officials said, he will argue for the need to spend public money — on research, on roads, on education — to prepare Americans for a world where a warming climate, a nomadic labor force and new technology are shutting doors and opening new ones across the national economy."
Obama's Address will begin at 9 p.m. ET. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will deliver the Republican response to the Address (in both English and Spanish!). Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will follow with the "Tea Party" response.
Like Obama's, the GOP response will be broadcast on TV. Paul's speech will be streamed on the Tea Party Express website. All three speeches will be carried on TheBlaze TV, with coverage starting at 6pm ET (watch here).
TheBlaze will also host a live chat with our writers, editors and readers for the event. Check the homepage for the link Tuesday.