Obama to Unveil Economic Blueprint in State of the Union Address

Posted January 24th, 2012 at 5:55 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama is outlining a new economic blueprint later Tuesday in his third annual State of the Union address.

The president's speech on the nation's progress comes as he faces a contentious re-election bid this year. He is delivering the speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress and millions of television viewers.

In a video released ahead of the speech, Mr. Obama said 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 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 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.”

Although few details have been released, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney issued comments about Mr. Obama's economic blueprint, saying his “built to last plan” is “doomed to fail.”

On the campaign trail in Florida, the former Massachusetts governor said Mr. Obama's State of the Union address must be his last to save the “soul of America.”

The president's 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 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.