President Obama to Highlight Economic Goals in State of the Union

Posted January 24th, 2012 at 5:55 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama will present his vision for the nation's economy when he delivers his annual State of the Union address Tuesday night before a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

In a video released to his supporters days before the speech, Mr. Obama says he will unveil a blueprint for an economy “built to last,” including new proposals for manufacturing, clean energy and education, all of which he says benefit the country's middle class.

The president said the U.S is faced with two vastly different directions for the economy – “one towards less opportunity and less fairness,” or an economy that “works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.”

Mr. Obama is also using Tuesday's State of the Union address – the third of his presidency – as a blueprint for his 2012 re-election campaign, by highlighting the differences between himself and opposition Republicans.

Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said he is looking for a fresh approach, and one that will appeal to lawmakers of both parties.

“Tomorrow, the president will come to the Capitol to tell us what he thinks about the state of our country, and to outline his plans for the future. We welcome him. We look forward to his address. We stand ready to work with him, as always, on an agenda that will get our nation moving again, not an agenda to divide. Not a repackaging of the same ideas that have made our economy worse and our future more uncertain. But a truly bipartisan agenda that gets us beyond past skirmishes.”

Senator McConnell said he thinks Mr. Obama's policies have made the government too unwieldy.

“President Obama's 3-year experiment with big government has made our economy worse and our future more uncertain. Americans want a government that is simpler, streamlined, and secure.”

But his Democratic counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said the government needs to step in when the economy is suffering. He says Mr. Obama's policies, like his economic stimulus packages, are needed to help more people from falling into poverty.

“Congress must do whatever it takes to help create jobs and strengthen our economy. Democrats believe it will take common-sense policies that protect the middle class and smart investments to rebuild our roads, bridges, schools, water systems, and sewer systems. We must combat income inequality now, or the rich will keep getting richer, and the poor getting poorer, while the middle class disappears.”

Political analysts will watch closely to see what affect 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.