Predictions for tonight’s State of The Union

Rachel Cogut

President Barack Obama will deliver the first State of The Union address of his second term tonight. Here I will present a preview of what the president is expected to discuss. Stay tuned for our coverage of his address tomorrow.

1. Focus on Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Middle Class
President Obama is expected to lay out an agenda for his second term focused primarily on the middle class. According to White House officials, he will vow to use the power of his office to boost job creation and economic expansion. Obama will insist that only a thriving middle class can stimulate long-term growth and that Americans must be given the tools to succeed. His call for new government investments – many of which Republicans blocked in his first term – is an effort to shift the emphasis away from reducing the deficit and will serve in part as an answer to Republican criticism that he has not focused enough on jobs.

2. Gun Control, Immigration Overhaul and Climate Change
Although the primary focus will be on the economy, the president will try to summon the nation’s support for two major initiatives that have dominated the first weeks of his second term: the passage of stricter gun laws, and an overhaul of immigration policy that would provide the 11 million illegal immigrants living in the country with an eventual path to citizenship. It is probable that the president will mention climate change, most likely in the context of a proposition for the creation of more clean energy jobs to boost economic growth.

3. Aggressive and Straightforward Tone
The tone and substance of the speech are expected to fit the more forceful public persona President Obama has struck since his re-election. Whereas his first term was marked by complaints from some progressives that he was too accommodating to his opponents, Republicans now accuse him of kicking them while they are down. He is expected to keep up his more assertive style of demanding Republican concessions. Obama will presumably take advantage of his prime-time address (to which millions of viewers are expected to tune in) as an opportunity to issue a challenge to the Republican Party to act.