WASHINGTON With the economy still trying to find its footing and with millions still out of work, President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address Tuesday will make a case for measures and proposals that he says will boost job creation and put the economy on a more upward trajectory.
In the galleries above the rostrum of the House of Representatives where Obama will speak, many of the faces looking down on him will be those of Americans thrust into the politics of gun violence.
First lady Michelle Obama will sit with the parents of a Chicago teenager shot and killed just days after she performed at the president’s inauguration. Twenty-two House members have invited people affected by gun violence, according to Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., who pushed the effort. And Republican Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas says he’s invited rocker Ted Nugent, a longtime gun-control opponent who last year said he would end up “dead or in jail” if Obama won re-election.
Obama has proposed a ban on certain weapons and on high-capacity ammunition magazines. He has also called for broader, universal background checks on gun purchasers, a proposal that stands a better chance politically.
But White House aides say the economy is still Obama’s central theme.
“You’ve seen the president act aggressively on comprehensive immigration reform. You’ve seen the president put forward a series of comprehensive proposals to reduce gun violence in this country in the recent weeks,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday. “These are important priorities of the president and of the nation. But what remains his No. 1 priority is what it has been since he took office, which is to get this economy growing, get it creating jobs, strengthening the middle class and expanding the middle class — allowing those who seek and aspire to the middle class to get there, giving them the tools to do that.”
Obama's speech is set for 8 p.m.