It’s been such an exhausting first half of President Obama’s term in office that it feels more like four years than two, but when he assumes the podium in Congress tonight to deliver his second State of the Union address he will have reached the unofficial halfway point. What a ride it’s been—nearly $800 billion worth of stimulus, doubling the amount of American troops in Afghanistan while rapidly drawing down our forces in Iraq, passing a historic health care reform law that continues to stir up intense debate, passing financial regulation overhaul, suffering crippling job losses, reaching a tortured compromise on preserving tax increases for all Americans rich and poor, all while weathering a bitterly partisan political climate. Even the President’s critics would agree that he’s been remarkably busy in two years, but that is where the agreement will probably end and agreement itself might be in short supply as the country moves toward what should be an epic reelection battle. As the President prepares to lay out his vision for 2011, we preview his speech from both sides of the aisle and start down the long, winding road toward November of 2012.
Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor & Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs & Public Engagement at the White House
Rep. Tom McClintock, R – CA’s 4th district; Chairman of the Water and Power Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee; member of the Budget Committee and the Natural Resources Committee