The State of the Union and its Many Questions

The State of the Union and its Many Questions


first published at April Ryan’s blog the Fabric of America

Tonight, President Obama will deliver the State of the Union Address from the well of the House, the first time for his second term.  Themes of this address are expected to be consistent with what he is promoting now.  Issues of gun control, immigration reform and deficits and jobs are expected to be discussed.

Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary said in his White House Briefing last Thursday, “We view the State of the Union address as a package. The first component of which was the President’s inaugural address and I think in keeping with a pretty long standing practice you can expect a State of the Union address to be a little bit more policy specific and things like that. It will build on what the President talked about in his inaugural speech.”

Acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris says, “My expectations are that jobs will remain one of his top priorities. I think there will a good solid commitment to jobs.”  He also believes there will be a focus on creating jobs in the urban sectors with a focus on African Americans and Latinos.

January 2013, the overall unemployment rate was 7.9 percent with the labor department reporting 12.3 Americans without work. The January unemployment rate for teenagers is 23.4 percent. Among the races, the unemployment numbers are as follows: whites 7.0 percent, blacks 13.8 percent, and Hispanics 9.7 percent.  The Asian unemployment rate, is the lowest at 6.5 percent.

The questions about the President’s speech will continue until it is delivered February 12th.  So what might President Obama say?

Terry Edmonds, Head Speechwriter for then President Bill Clinton, said in January 2010, during the Presidents first speech in the well of the House, one of the most used phrases by Presidents during the speech, “The state of our union is strong.” Edmonds, acknowledges a State of the Union speech must convey “optimism, looking forward, even if we do have challenges, we have the resources and the will to overcome.”

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus hopes President Obama “assures us of his intention to strengthen and preserve Social Security and Medicare as well as how we address poverty. Lastly, I want him to address the culture of violence in this nation.”

African American Republican, former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and Head of Christie Strategies, Ron Christie thinks the President will deliver “a call for Gun Control. I think that we are going to hear a defense of the Affordable Care Act.  And, I think he is going to talk about keeping the safety net that is in place for Entitlement Programs such as Social Security, and Medicare and Medicaid.  And that he is going to be unabashed in his…not only defense of those programs but the need to expand the size, the shape and the scope of Federal Government.”

As Christie supports many of the policies and ideals of the Republican Party, he says, “The State of our Union is quite strong, and I take great pride in that.”