Live blogging the State of the Union address
January 25th, 2011
09:11 PM ET

Live blogging the State of the Union address

CNN's Political Ticker, with some help from The 1600 Report,  is live blogging the president's address.  Check it out!

Which anchor scored the best seat at lunch with Obama?
January 25th, 2011
09:02 PM ET

Which anchor scored the best seat at lunch with Obama?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It was the worst kept secret at the White House Tuesday. When you're Wolf Blitzer and Brian Williams, it's hard to hide when you drop by the White House that is already swarming with reporters. President Obama hosted a hush-hush lunch with television anchors to spin them before he delivered his State of the Union speech.

Who rubbed elbows with the president during the intimate lunch in the Family Dining Room? NBC's Brian Williams and Univision's Maria Elena Salinas. Who might have had to strain the most to see Obama from their seat? MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Telemundo's Jose Diaz-Balart.

This long-standing luncheon tradition to brief television anchors precedes President Obama's administration. It's a coveted invitation – White House reporters don't even get invited – and invitees are under strict orders not to tweet, blog or talk about the off-the-record lunch until the president delivers his address.

And with so many egos – 14 network and cable giants, six presidential aides and the president – how was there room for food at the table?

FULL POST

Obama speech to pivot off Arizona tragedy
January 25th, 2011
07:38 PM ET

Obama speech to pivot off Arizona tragedy

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama is planning to mention the Tucson shooting tragedy near the top of his State of the Union Address Tuesday in order to press members of Congress to "lower your tone and raise your sights" about the future, according to a senior administration official.

"I think the American people are screaming for that," said the senior administration official. "They want adult supervision."

Sticking with the unity theme, the senior official said Obama will also use the "shellacking" his party suffered in the November election – as well as the successes of the lame duck session of Congress in December – to say that if politicians are going to tackle the nation's huge challenges they will "need to do all of it together" in the months ahead.

The senior administration official added that Obama is planning a "very optimistic" tone with five big picture themes, rather than presenting a long list of policy proposals.

Check out the complete story on CNN's Political Ticker.

WH 'strongly opposes' GOP bill to dismantle system of campaign financing
January 25th, 2011
03:09 PM ET

WH 'strongly opposes' GOP bill to dismantle system of campaign financing

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Republican-backed bill to halt public financing of presidential campaigns and conventions is coming under fire from the White House.

In a strongly worded statement, the Office of Management and Budget said the House bill, known as H.R. 359, would "expand the power of corporations and special interests in the nation's elections," and that it would "force candidates into an endless cycle of fundraising at the expense of engagement with voters on the issues."

"The administration strongly opposes [the bill]."

The current system was put in place in the wake of the Watergate scandal as a way to avoid private influence in the public process.  It took the pressure off qualified presidential candidates by giving them the option of accepting matching funds and grants.

But Republicans who have been pushing for more spending cuts see an opportunity to save money, to the tune of $520 million over the next 10 years.
FULL POST


Topics: President Obama • The News
Obama to call for five-year spending freeze
January 25th, 2011
01:44 PM ET

Obama to call for five-year spending freeze

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a move aimed at tackling the bulging federal deficit, a senior administration official said President Obama will call for a "five-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending," during his State Of The Union address Tuesday night.

Mr. Obama also plans to look for other areas to cut and make the government more efficient, the official said.

One example already in motion, a five-year plan from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, to get $78 billion in defense savings.

Republicans have been putting pressure on the White House to focus more heavily on spending cuts and reforms, arguing that the recent  "spending binge" has hampered job creation.

January 25th, 2011
12:06 PM ET

State of the date

Who's "dating" whom at the State of the Union? CNN's Jeanne Moos reports on the state of those unions.

Did you know...?  State of the Union edition
January 25th, 2011
10:56 AM ET

Did you know...? State of the Union edition

From Robert Yoon, CNN Political Research Director

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The first televised State of the Union was delivered by President Harry Truman on January 6, 1947.  President Lyndon Johnson moved the speech from its traditional midday time slot to prime-time in 1965 to attract a larger television audience. The first address to be webcast live on the internet was President George W. Bush's 2002 address.

President Obama's address last year, on Wednesday, January 27, 2010, lasted 69 minutes and included 89 applause interruptions (Source: National Journal's Congress Daily). FULL POST

Is Obama as good as his word?
January 25th, 2011
07:00 AM ET

Is Obama as good as his word?

Washington (CNN) - President Obama makes his second State of the Union address tonight.  How did Obama's deeds measure up against his words in last year's address?  CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon takes a look at 10 key statements Obama made in his 2010 address and how events played out over the year.