In his first State of the Union address since his re-election, President Barack Obama is expected to focus on domestic concerns -- jobs, the economy and education. On the foreign front, early leaks of the speech this morning indicate he will call for the next phase of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Reportedly, 34,000 U.S. troops will return within a year -- cutting the American presence on the ground by half, according to the Associated Press.
In the audience tonight will be primarily Congress, of course, but many special invited guests will be victims affected by gun violence in recent months. Across the aisle, an invited guest of a Texas lawmaker is outspoken gun rights activist and musician, Ted Nugent. Other players to watch will be Marco Rubio, providing the official response of the Republican Party; and in what's being described as a "rebuttal-rebuttal," Congressman Rand Paul will provide the Tea Party response.
Which one represents the face of the GOP future? How will Rand Paul's presence affect Rubio's response, and vice versa? Will Obama say much that he hasn't said before about building the economy?
Josh Gerstein, White House Reporter, POLITICO
Sean Sullivan, Political Reporter, The Washington Post - writes for its The Fix column