Obama to Unveil Economic Blueprint in State of the Union

Posted January 24th, 2012 at 3:40 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama will unveil a new economic blueprint during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, addressing a key issue as he faces a contentious re-election bid later this year.

Mr. Obama will deliver his third annual speech on the nations' progress before a joint session of the U.S. Congress, and on television to an American public weary of the slow economic recovery.

In a video released ahead of his speech, Mr. Obama says he will present his vision for an economy that is “built to last,” including new proposals for manufacturing, clean energy and education, all of which he says benefit the country's middle class.

Mr. Obama is expected to highlight the differences between himself and opposition Republicans in a speech laced with 2012 election campaign themes and reasons he deserves a second term in the White House.

The president said the United States faces two vastly different directions for the economy – “one toward less opportunity and less fairness,” or an economy that “works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.”

Highlighting Mr. Obama's commitment to economic performance, first lady Michelle Obama will be joined at the speech by a automobile factory manager, a small business owner who returned overseas jobs to his home state, a successful immigrant entrepreneur, a teacher and a military spouse. Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of late Apple founder, Steve Jobs, also joins Mrs. Obama for her work with underserved communities.

In support of Mr. Obama's comprehensive tax reform, billionaire financier Warren Buffett's secretary, Debbie Bosanek, will also sit with the first lady to highlight Buffett's complaint that his staff pays a higher rate on taxes than he does.

Although few details have been released, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney released comments about Mr. Obama's economic blueprint on Tuesday, saying his “built to last plan” is “doomed to fail.” On the campaign trail in Florida, the former Massachusetts governor said the Mr. Obama's State of the Union address must be his last to save the “soul of America.”

The president delivers his speech between two critical U.S. Republican presidential primaries in South Carolina last Saturday and Florida next week.

The Republican National Committee released a new television advertisement in time for the president's 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.