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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid