Obama to Deliver Second
State of the Union Address
January 25, 2012
President Barack Obama delivers his second State of the Union Address to
the nation on Tuesday, before a joint session of the U.S. Congress.
President Barack Obama will face a dramatically altered balance of power
in the House of Representatives when he addresses Congress and the
nation Tuesday in his State of the Union address.
Republicans are now in the majority in the House, and they have already
approved a repeal of Mr. Obama's landmark reform of the U.S. health care
system. The move was symbolic, since the bill will die in the U.S.
Senate, where Democrats and Independents still hold a majority.
Presidents traditionally use State of the Union addresses to assess the
nation's condition, on everything from the economy to foreign policy.
They also use the speech to lay out agendas - and often propose new
ideas, or changes in thinking they want Americans to consider.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says Mr. Obama is likely to
focus on efforts to repair the economy.
"The steps that the president believes our country has to take to
continue that economic recovery, steps that we need to take in the short
term that relate to jobs, and steps that we need to take in the medium
and long term to put our fiscal house in order and to increase our
competitiveness and our innovation that allows us to create the jobs of
tomorrow," said Gibbs.
Mr. Obama goes into this national speech enjoying a substantial positive
bump in public approval ratings. This is due to legislative victories,
including some made possible by his controversial compromise with
Republicans to extend Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans while
extending government unemployment benefits
"We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how
we treat one another, that's entirely up to us," said Obama.
Brighter approval ratings are also due to what Americans view as Obama's
skilled handling of a speech honoring the victims of recent shootings in
Tucson, Arizona, in which he urged more civility in the national
Political analyst John Fortier of the American Enterprise Institute says
had the president delivered the State of the Union Address directly
after last November's mid-term congressional elections, he would be in a
But compromises he struck with Republicans have positioned him as
someone pursuing a new pragmatism, something Americans appreciate.
do see the president already having some indication that he is moving to
the middle, that he has a kind of pragmatism," noted Fortier.
This State of the Union Address comes as nearly 150,000 U.S. troops
remain in Afghanistan and Iraq, with opinion polls showing the Afghan
war extremely unpopular among Americans. Mr. Obama will again pay
tribute to the sacrifices of the military.
Whatever the themes of the address, it's all but confirmed that
President Obama intends to stand for re-election.
With a re-tooled White House staff helping to further cement his image
as a political moderate rather than a far left liberal, and deal with
strengthened Republican control of Congress, he is already establishing
the political machinery for 2012.