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Economy to be Obama’s focus in State of the Union

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 9, 2013 at 11:11 a.m.

— President Barack Obama will focus his State of the Union address on boosting job creation and economic growth at a time of high unemployment, underscoring the degree to which the economy could threaten his ability to pursue second-term priorities such as gun control, immigration policy and climate change.

Obama also may use Tuesday’s prime-time address before a joint session of Congress to announce the next steps for concluding the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Obama’s State of the Union marks his second high-profile speech to the nation in about three weeks, after his inaugural address Jan. 21 that opened his second term. White House aides see the two speeches as complementary, with Tuesday’s address aimed at providing specifics to back up some of the Inauguration Day’s lofty liberal rhetoric.

The president previewed the address during a meeting Thursday with House Democrats and said he would speak “about making sure that we’re focused on job creation here in the United States of America.” Obama said he would try to accomplish that by calling for improvements in education, boosting clean energy production, and reducing the deficit in ways that don’t burden the middle class, the poor or the elderly.

While those priorities may be cheered by some Democrats, they’re certain to be met with skepticism or outright opposition from many congressional Republicans, especially in the GOP-controlled House. The parties are at odds over ways to reduce the deficit. Republicans favor spending cuts; Obama prefers a combination of spending cuts and increasing tax revenue.

The president said he would address taxes and looming across-the-board budget cuts, known as the sequester, in the speech. The White House and Congress have pushed back the automatic cuts once, and Obama wants to do it again in order to create an opening for a larger deficit reduction deal.

“I am prepared, eager and anxious to do a big deal, a big package that ends this governance by crisis where every two weeks or every two months or every six months we are threatening this hard-won recovery,” he said last week.

The economy has rebounded significantly from the depths of the recession and has taken a back seat for Obama since he won re-election in November. He’s instead focused on campaigns to overhaul the nation’s patchwork immigration laws and enact stricter gun control measures following the massacre of 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., in December.

The president also raised expectations for action this year on climate change after devoting a significant amount of time to the issue in his address at the inauguration.

But the unemployment rate is persistently high at 7.9 percent, economic growth slowed last quarter and consumer confidence is falling, so the economy could upend Obama’s plans to pursue a broader domestic agenda in his final four years in office.

Tony Fratto, who worked in the White House during President George W. Bush’s second term, said Obama has to show the public that he’s still focused on the economy before he can get their full support for his other proposals.

“We’re not in a position where he can blame anybody else for the economy now,” Fratto said, “Now it’s his economy.”

Obama is expected to use his address to press lawmakers to back his immigration overhaul, which includes a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants, and his gun control proposals, including universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons.

Voting rights groups expect the president to call for changes that would make it easier for people to vote.

Comments on: Economy to be Obama’s focus in State of the Union

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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 total comments

HM2 says... February 9, 2013 at 7:14 p.m.

Get ready for three tons of bull poop, and a truck full of lies driven by chicago teamsters. this guy is nothing put pure evil.

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RonalFos says... February 9, 2013 at 9:24 p.m.

HM2, get a grip. History is going to treat Obama much better than he is getting treated today and all of you Obama haters here aren't going to have any say in it.

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T6 says... February 9, 2013 at 9:25 p.m.

Ok Liar-in-Chief time to put up or shut up. Don't you say in ALL your SOTU speeches you're going to create jobs? You really are a habitual liar. NOBODY believes you anymore except your mentally deranged koolaid drinkers. Anyone with any sense KNOWS you don't want to create prosperity you want more and more dependents on you. Well, Mr. Obama you failed miserably when 4 Americans DEPENDED on YOU to save them in Benghazi. You are a treasonous traitor to this country and YOU need to IMPEACHED for those deaths.

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FreeSpiritMan says... February 9, 2013 at 11:07 p.m.

HM2,T6....What vile out of the mouth of aa so called Christain (T6), I don't know about you HM2, your just a hate filled nut case like T6. But, the people wanted Obama policies rather than yours T6 is so ignorant , or is he, of the truth, the secretary of defense said yesterday that they had no rapid response teams that could have reached Benghazi in time, this is a fact that you seem to ignore.
This is an Impeacheable offense:
Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US was the President's Daily Brief prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and given to U.S. President George W. Bush on August 6, 2001. The brief warned of terrorism threats from Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda 36 days before the September 11, 2001 attacks.
T6, you are one screwed up bible thumper.

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T6 says... February 10, 2013 at 9:28 a.m.

Hey BillSmith..Wanted Obama's policies????? What a crock of bull excrement. THIS is how YOUR Liar-in-Chief got elected just extrapolate it to ALL over the US. You are one ignorant, blind, Koolaid drinker. Now I'm going to church to PRAY for all you ignorant Obots for what you have brought on this country. BS I know you probably won't look at this, since you only post from right wing sites when you have an agenda. Going to church today, Hypocrit?
breitbart. com/Breitbart-TV/2013/02/09/Democratic-Ohio-Poll-Watcher-Yeah-I-Voted-For-Obama-Twice

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T6 says... February 10, 2013 at 1:02 p.m.

Hey BillSmith...... Only you Obama left wing nuts would believe we couldn't get any support there in 8 hours. When the State Dept said they had REAL TIME FOOTAGE of the attack. Obama was AWOL. Most likely He knew he was in over his head and didn't know what the heck to do. As evidence when Panetta said,"Neither the president nor anyone else from the White House called afterwards to check what was happening; the Commander-in-Chief had left it “up to us,” said Panetta.

Even Defense Sec. Panetta said he had NO communication with the Tyrant-in-Chief.
President Obama’s own claim to have issued “three directives” as soon as he learned “what was going on” in Benghazi. As he told a Denver reporter in October:

I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure we are securing our personnel and that we are doing whatever we need to. Number two, we are going to investigate exactly what happened and make sure it doesn't happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice.

LIAR...LIAR... LIAR...
Panetta admitted that he had no communication with President Obama after their “pre-scheduled” meeting at 5:00 p.m. EDT. The attack on the consulate had already been under way for 90 minutes at that time.
This is the most corrupt, incompetent, stupid, immature administration WE HAVE EVER HAD!

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