The White House seemed surprised last month when President Obama's inaugural address was characterized in some quarters as a liberal manifesto. So Tuesday night's State of the Union speech was firmly grounded in the bread-and-butter pocketbook issues facing the middle class.
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Throughout today's program, we're hearing parts of President Obama's State of the Union Address and many reactions to it. This is the part of the program where we take a close read of the speech. We've done this nine years running. In some cases we're checking facts. And in other cases we're asking what some parts of the speech really mean.
A U.S. flag flies Tuesday in front of the U.S. Capitol, where President Obama will give his annual State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress.
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President Obama is expected to put specifics behind the vision he outlined in his inaugural address a few weeks ago. Get live updates from the speech and join NPR journalists in analyzing what it could mean for the future.
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And we turn now to the big political news of the day. In a matter of hours President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress, the first of his second term. Tens of millions of Americans will be watching as the president lays out his agenda and picks up where he left off in his inaugural address last month. He's expected to focus on job creation and talk about how leveling the playing field to give everyone a fair shot will help the economy grow.
Something that President Obama is not likely to dwell on tonight is the feeble state of campaign finance laws. It was three years ago that he used the State of the Union to challenge the Supreme Court on its Citizens United decision, which encouraged more corporate money in politics. This year, though, he has his own tax-exempt social welfare group backed with corporate contributions to help advance his agenda. NPR's Peter Overby reports.
President Obama began last year's State of the Union address by recognizing recently returned Iraq War veterans, adding: "At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known." Expect more historical references in Obama's Tuesday night address to a joint session of Congress.
Credit Evan Vucci / AP
Sometimes the best way to advance an argument is by looking back.
President Obama's second inaugural address was filled with historical allusions. His State of the Union address on Tuesday, which will lay out a long list of agenda items for the year and his second term, is likely to employ fewer references to the past.