News / USA

Arizona Shootings Impact Obama State of the Union Address

President Obama during his 2010 State of the Union Address
President Obama during his 2010 State of the Union Address

President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address has now formally been scheduled for January 25.   The shootings in the U.S. state of Arizona, and the national  debate they have sparked, are going to figure in what Mr. Obama says two weeks from now in his speech to a joint session of Congress.

The president and his White House staff have been preparing for the State of the Union Address for months, with drafts being revised using input from a range of sources within and outside of government.

The January 25 date has been known for some time, but it was not until Tuesday that a letter went to the president, from the new Republican House Speaker John Boehner, formally inviting him to deliver the address.

In the letter, Boehner refers to the shootings in Arizona, saying that even in the wake of tragedy, Americans "must never waiver from our obligation to carry out their will and provide solutions to keep moving our nation forward."

The address will take place almost exactly two weeks after Mr. Obama's visit to Tucson, Arizona where the suspected gunman killed six people and left 14 others wounded.

Among the wounded is Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who though she is expected to live, faces years of recovery from a gunshot wound to the head suffered as she was meeting with constituents in Tucson.

Sentiments that President Obama expresses at a memorial service in Tucson on Wednesday are likely to find their way into the speech he delivers to Congress and the nation on January 25.

Mr. Obama provided a sample of the kind of message he is likely to deliver in the State of the Union when he spoke to reporters Monday amid talks with visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"I think it is going to be important I think for the country as a whole as well as the people of Arizona to feel as if we are speaking directly to our sense of loss, but also speaking to our hopes for the future, and how out of this tragedy we can come together as a stronger nation," said President Obama.

The State of the Union Address will come amid ongoing heated debate about the motives of the accused shooter, and though there is no evidence to this effect so far the extent to which the heated political rhetoric in the nation may have contributed to his state of mind at the time.

Particularly in light of the events in Tucson, the president is likely to speak strongly about the need for greater civility in the national discourse, and urge people across the political spectrum, and in the media, to think about the impact that words can have.

White House aides say drafts of the State of the Union are already being revised  because of the Arizona tragedy.  But whether it is that or what Mr. Obama says in laying out his vision for the next two years, he will be placing his personal stamp on the product his speechwriters come up with.

In doing so, he may also make use of observations of other current and former political figures who have spoken in recent days, one of them former President Bill Clinton.

In an interview with the BBC that aired on Tuesday, Mr. Clinton urged Americans not to allow political differences to "degenerate into demonisation" and suggested that the House of Representatives, now controlled by Republicans, should be the place where the process of toning down the political discourse starts.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs