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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 25: U.S. President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), addresses a Joint Session of Congress while delivering his State of the Union speech January 25, 2011 in Washington, DC.
Amid one of the weakest economies in U.S. history, increasingly complicated international frictions, and of course, a presidential election year, President Obama’s imminent 2012 State of the Union address could be the most important speech he ever gives.
Whether the president specifically discusses campaign issues or not (the White House says he won’t), the speech will undoubtedly set a tone for the next nine months leading up to the presidential election. Foreshadowing the focus of the speech, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “The President will build off the themes of [his recent] Kansas speech in the State of the Union by laying out a blueprint for an America Built to Last. The blueprint will be supported by four pillars: American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and American values.” Clearly, the state of the U.S. economy is the most critical issue on Americans’ minds, but partisanship, Iran, China, North Korea, the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and birth control are just a few of the other things on the podium.
What’s on your mind? What should the President address in Tuesday night’s speech? How important is the State of the Union address in terms of setting America's course? And how much will the speech influence public opinion of President Obama?
Rep. Brad Sherman, (D-San Fernando Valley), member of the House Foreign Affairs and Financial Services Committees
Rep. Tom McClintock, (R- Northern California) , member of the Budget Committee; chairman of the Water and Power Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee