Obama Will Focus on Economy in State of the Union

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 10 2013 4:29 PM

President Obama Will Focus on Economy and Jobs in Tuesday's State of the Union Address

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President Obama speaks during a tribute in honor of outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta

Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

It’s back to basics for President Obama. When Obama delivers the first State of the Union of his second term Tuesday, he will once again focus on the problems that largely marked his first term: jobs and the economy, reports USA Today. "I'm going to be talking about making sure that we're focused on job creation here in the United States of America," Obama told House Democrats during a retreat last week. Obama will also propose ways to make college more affordable and argue that spending money on research, infrastructure, and education can help the country grow, reports the Washington Post.

Administration officials say that while Obama used his inaugural address to outline his grand vision and themes for the second term, the State of the Union is going to be more focused on policy. He will also push for tax reform and an agreement to reduce debt while also warning lawmakers that political battles over these very issues could threaten the country’s growth. Obama is also expected to talk about immigration, but CNN hears he won’t be confrontational on that issue but rather highlight how bipartisan cooperation appears to be producing results. He is also expected to mention gun control but likely won’t break new ground and merely reiterate proposals he’s already endorsed, including a ban on assault weapons.

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Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul insisted Sunday that his “Tea Party” response to the State of the Union isn’t meant to compete against Sen. Marco Rubio’s Republican response. “I see it as extra response. I don’t see it as necessarily divisive,” Paul said on CNN. The Kentucky senator also pushed back against the widely held view that Rubio is emerging as the new face of the GOP. "I don't think anybody gets to choose who the face is, or say you or someone else is the face,” he said.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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