News / USA

Obama Prepares for State of Union in Evolving Political Landscape

Multimedia

Audio

U.S. President Barack Obama is preparing to deliver his State of the Union Address at a time of political turmoil in Washington.  Voter anger is high, and a Republican Senate victory in Massachusetts has sent shock waves through the president's Democratic Party. 

White House officials say they understand why emotions are running high.  The president's top political aide says President Obama has had to take unpopular action to deal with an economic crisis far worse than anyone expected when he took office.

David Axelrod says he warned the president early on that his public approval ratings were likely to drop. "I said to him a year ago, Mr. President your numbers are going to be considerably worse a year from now than they are today because you can not govern in an economy like this without great disaffection," he said.

Axelrod told the ABC television program This Week that he believes the president did the right thing. "I have no regrets about that.  I think history will look back and say the President of the United States met his responsibilities," he said.

But Republicans say the win by Scott Brown in usually reliably Democratic Massachusetts shows the public vehemently disagrees with the president's policies - most notably his drive to get legislation through Congress to overhaul the nation's health care system.

On NBC's Meet the Press, the top Republican in the U.S. Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said polls show the vote in Massachusetts was largely about health care reform. "The American people had a victory in Massachusetts.  And they were sending us the message - stop and start over," he said.

One of the president's chief advisors, Valerie Jarrett, makes clear Mr. Obama is not about to give up.

She also appeared on Meet the Press, saying, "What the president is always going to do is push hard for the American people.  He is not going to give up on that because of one election in Massachusetts."

But there are already small incremental signs of change at the White House and the Democratic Party headquarters following the Massachusetts election.

The man who led the successful Obama presidential campaign, David Plouffe, will help the party prepare for Congressional elections in November.  And President Obama is making a greater effort to show the American people that his policies can change their lives for the better - particularly when it comes to creating jobs. 

Jarrett indicates that will be a focus of the State of the Union Address, saying "he will be able to set forward his priorities and they will be focusing on the middle class - our middle class is struggling out there, they are frustrated, they are angry."

The president will deliver his State of the Union Address to Congress and the American people on Wednesday.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
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 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.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid