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.

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.

Guess who will sit in the First Lady's box at the State of the Union?
January 24th, 2011
08:31 PM ET

Guess who will sit in the First Lady's box at the State of the Union?

The White House released the guest list for the first lady's box at the State of the Union address. In addition to Dr. Jill Biden and Phil Schiliro, Assistant to the President and Director, Office of Legislative Affairs, Michelle Obama invited 24 others.

FULL POST

Tucson shooting hero to be to honored at State of the Union
January 24th, 2011
08:23 AM ET

Tucson shooting hero to be to honored at State of the Union

Washington (CNN) – It is a Washington ritual at the State of the Union address. The president honors special guests by inviting them to sit alongside the first lady in her reserved box in the House chamber.

This year the special guests will include at least one of the heroes from the tragic Tucson shooting.  White House spokesman Nick Shapiro tells CNN Daniel Hernandez, the intern who assisted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the Safeway parking lot, will join first lady Michelle Obama for the speech.

According to a senior White House official, Capt. Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Giffords, was also invited but is unlikely to attend because of the Congresswoman’s ongoing treatment and rehabilitation at a Houston, Texas hospital.  The rest of the guest list has not yet been announced.

Traditionally, the special guest list can include about two dozen people, ranging from guests who exemplify extreme valor and courage to those who represent the president’s political agenda.

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

Obama's speech will expose partisan divide on spending
January 24th, 2011
04:29 AM ET

Obama's speech will expose partisan divide on spending

By the CNN Wire Staff

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech will emphasize "winning the future" for America by strengthening the nation's ability to compete in a changing world, according to White House talking points provided Monday by a Democratic source.

Tuesday night's annual speech to Congress, a nationally televised event considered the president's biggest address of the year, brings together the three branches of government for an assessment of where America stands and where it is heading.

"The president will lay out a plan to win the future by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building the rest of the world," said the White House talking points. "He will talk about the need to take responsibility for our deficits, by investing only in what makes America stronger and cutting what doesn't, and reforming our government so that it's leaner and smarter for the 21st century."

Check out the complete story on CNNPolitics.

Obama: jobs will be main topic of State of the Union
January 22nd, 2011
07:23 PM ET

Obama: jobs will be main topic of State of the Union

(CNN) - President  Obama said jobs and the economy would be central to his upcoming State of the Union address in a videotaped preview of the speech that was sent to supporters on Saturday.

"My principal focus, my number one focus, is going to be making sure that we are competitive, that we are growing, and we are creating jobs not just now but well into the future," Obama said.

The message, taped Friday, went up on YouTube and went out to backers of the Democratic National Committee's Organizing for America initiative on Saturday.

FULL POST

Obama to Wisconsin after State of the Union
January 18th, 2011
04:55 PM ET

Obama to Wisconsin after State of the Union

Washington (CNN) - Continuing a presidential tradition of traveling to the heartland of America after delivering his State of the Union address, President Obama will fly to Manitowoc, Wis., on Wednesday, January 26. Presidents have historically visited politically important states following the annual speech in order to highlight themes and programs outlined in the address.

Manitowoc is located on Lake Michigan, about a 90-minute drive north of Milwaukee. The mayor, Justin Nickels, is a mere 24 years old. He was 22 when elected to the post.

Candidate Obama carried the state of Wisconsin in 2008 by 14 points over Republican candidate Senator John McCain. But the Republicans made a strong comeback in the state during the last midterm elections in November 2010 winning a Senate seat, two House seats and the governorship.

The president traveled to Tampa the day after last year's State of the Union address for a town hall meeting.