U.S. President Barack Obama is using his third annual State of the Union address Tuesday to outline a new economic blueprint that he says will work for everyone, not just the wealthy.
The president's speech on the nation's progress comes as he faces a contentious re-election bid this year. He is speaking before a joint session of the U.S. Congress and millions of television viewers.
In excerpts of the speech released in advance, Mr. Obama says his plans are for “an economy that's built to last,” an economy built on manufacturing, energy, skills for American workers and what he described as “a renewal of American values.”
He says Americans can either “settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well” while a growing number “barely get by,” or “restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”
He also warns Republicans in Congress that he will fight any effort to return to an economy that he says was “weakened by outsourcing, bad debt and phony financial profits.”
In excerpts of the Republican response to the Obama speech, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels says members of his party do not accept that the United States “will ever be a nation of haves and have nots,” He says it should always be a nation of “haves and soon to haves.” He says Republicans are in favor of a “pro-jobs, pro-growth economic policy,” and says it is “not fair and “not true” for the president to say Republican lawmakers have been obstacles to economic recovery.
Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney said Tuesday that Mr. Obama's plan is “doomed to fail.”
On the campaign trail in Florida, the former Massachusetts governor said the president's State of the Union address must be his last to save the “soul of America.”
Mr. Obama is expected to highlight differences between himself and opposition Republicans in a speech laced with 2012 campaign themes and reasons that he deserves a second term in the White House.
The speech falls between two critical U.S. Republican presidential primaries — South Carolina last Saturday and Florida next week.
The Republican National Committee issued a new television advertisement in time for the Tuesday speech, focusing on what Republicans say is the Obama administration's poor handling of the U.S. economy. The ad seeks to remind American voters that 13 million people are unemployed and that 49 million live in poverty.
Political analysts will watch closely to see what effect 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.