News / USA

Obama Previews State of the Union Speech to Backers

Kent Klein

President Barack Obama has given Democratic Party supporters a preview of the main points of the State of the Union speech he will deliver on Tuesday.

The president did so in a in a video entitled “Blueprint For An America Built To Last," during which he states that Tuesday’s address will emphasize the need to make government and other institutions more responsive to lower- and middle-income Americans.

Watch the president's video

“This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class and folks trying to work their way into the middle class," says Obama. "Because we can go in two directions. 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 everybody, not just a wealthy few.”

Reducing income inequality is the main theme of the president’s re-election campaign, where he is positioning himself as a protector of the middle class, and opposition Republicans as defending the wealthy.

“And most importantly, a return to American values-a fairness for all and responsibility from all. They are big ideas because we have got to meet this moment. And this speech is going to be about how we do it.”

Mr. Obama’s calls for higher taxes on the rich have angered Republicans, who say that would hamper job creation and make unemployment worse.

The president is expected to call for initiatives that will require approval from Congress, where Republican opposition has been stiff.

Mr. Obama is calling his State of the Union address a “blueprint, saying it will take the values he laid out in his December speech in Kansas and provide details of how to achieve them.

“American manufacturing, with more good jobs and more products stamped with ‘Made In America.’ American energy, fueled by home-grown and alternative energy sources. Skills for American workers-getting people the education and training they need so they are ready to take on the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

About nine months before the election, Americans say the economy is their main concern. Public opinion polls show that more voters disapprove of Mr. Obama’s handling of the issue than approve it.

The preview video did not mention foreign policy, although it will certainly be addressed in Tuesday’s speech.

43 million people watched last year’s State of the Union address on television.

Immediately after the president’s address, the Republican response will be given by Mitch Daniels, governor of the Central state of Indiana.

The next day, Mr. Obama will leave for a three-day, five-state trip, in which he will promote his initiatives in politically important states. Among his stops will be Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada, which have been hit hard by real estate foreclosures.

The president’s trip will conclude in Detroit, Michigan, the home of the U.S. auto industry, which is prospering nearly three years after Mr. Obama’s controversial government bailout.

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