News / USA

Obama: 'Big Ideas' in Economy-Focused State of the Union Address

President Barack Obama at a campaign event, at the Apollo Theater in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, January 19, 2012.
President Barack Obama at a campaign event, at the Apollo Theater in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, January 19, 2012.

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union Address on Tuesday to a joint session of the U.S. Congress.  Mr. Obama hopes to point the way forward for the nation's economic recovery, frame the political debate with opposition Republicans and make a strong case to Americans to reelect him this year.

This will be Mr. Obama's third State of the Union Address.  Each to a great extent has been dominated by the economic crisis he inherited from his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, and his own efforts to promote jobs and economic growth.

The political stakes are high in a presidential election year.  Americans will choose in November between giving Mr. Obama four more years in office and one of the current Republican contenders who say Mr. Obama has spent enough time in the White House.

National unemployment, now at 8.5 percent, is falling but not as quickly as Mr. Obama had hoped.  Although he came to office urging an end to contentious Washington politics, he has struggled with Republicans seeking to block his economic initiatives.

Mr. Obama provided a glimpse of what he will say Tuesday night in a video outlining what he calls a blueprint for an economy “built to last” focused on new proposals in manufacturing, clean energy and education.

It will be based on key themes he sounded last year in a speech, stressing the importance of the middle class, and of fair play in the economy.

"This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class and folks trying to work their way into the middle class because we can go in two directions," said President Obama. "One is towards less opportunity and less fairness.  Or we can fight for where I think we need to go - building an economy that works for everyone, not just a wealthy few."

Mr. Obama will likely again reach out to Republicans, but will contrast his vision for the future with theirs.  He faces more battles with Republican lawmakers in coming months over efforts to reduce federal deficit spending and taxes.

Remarks by House of Representatives Speaker, Republican John Boehner, who appeared on the "Fox News Sunday" television program, suggest that the political tension will continue.

"The president's policies have failed to get our economy moving again, and as a matter of fact it is the president's policies that have actually made our economy worse," said Boehner.

Congress is also under pressure.  A recent Washington Post/ABC News public opinion poll shows that 84 percent of Americans disapprove of the job U.S. lawmakers are doing.

Mr. Obama’s political strategy will continue targeting what he calls a dysfunctional Congress.  But Press Secretary Jay Carney says the president is ready to work with congressional Republicans.

"We disagree with that premise that we can't get anything done just because it is an election year," said Carney. "I don't think the American people want that to be true or would be happy if that were true."

Among those listening closely to Mr. Obama will be former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich who used his victory speech after the recent South Carolina Republican primary vote to portray Mr. Obama as a radical.

"This is the most important election of our lifetime," said Gingrich. "If Barack Obama can get reelected after this disaster, just think how radical he would be in a second term."

President Obama will likely list what he considers his key accomplishments:  health care reform, tightening regulations on Wall Street and the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden along with the end of the Iraq War and staying on course for America's withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Political analysts and media pundits will watch closely to see what affect this year's address will have on Mr. Obama's public approval ratings, which, according to the Gallup polling Organization, have averaged about 44 percent this year.

You May Like

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid