January 26th, 2010
10:20 AM ET
8 years ago

President Obama still crafting critical speech

It's down to the wire for President Obama.

It's down to the wire for President Obama.

(CNN) - It's down to the wire for President Obama.

White House aides say he's still writing what could arguably be the most important speech of his young presidency. Tuesday, Mr. Obama is working with lead speechwriter Jon Favreau and foreign policy speechwriter Ben Rhodes to craft his critical State of the Union Address.

White House spokesman Bill Burton says they've lost count of the multiple drafts which have gone into editing the address, but the tinkering continues. The White House writing team began crafting the speech back in November. The president became involved the following month, but now Mr. Obama is pouring through the pages with a fine tooth comb."There has been a lot of hard work on it in past couple of days," Burton said.

The president is writing part of it in long hand, as he did for his Nobel Peace Prize address, but most has been done on computer, aides say. As changes are still being made, Mr. Obama has not yet started practicing his delivery in the White House theater.

The president's proposal to freeze non-security discretionary spending for three years will be announced during his State of the Union. Burton says that initiative to reign in federal spending was written in the address before the Massachusetts special election that cost Democrats their 60-seat supermajority.

White House officials say the president will emphasize the importance of "creating good jobs, addressing the deficit, changing Washington, and fighting for middle class families." Burton says Mr. Obama will also talk about the need for health care reform, his top domestic priority, that got railroaded after the partys' Massachusetts loss.

soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. tmart

    Well, I look forward to it. He has done a lot of good, and he is a good, honest and straightforward man. For any president to say he'd rather have a successful one term getting a lot of good accomplished and yet run the risk of not getting re-elected by just playing it safe says a lot to me about the good man he is. I wish others would look at the good in people and say good things first about the person and then criticize their policy (if they don't like it). Though I'm a Democrat I still thought George Bush was a sincere man and devoted Christian though I disagreed strongly with a lot of what he did. And his father I thought was a super good man. His father actually DESERVED to be re-elected.

    January 26, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. Scott, Tucson

    Yep...he can toss out from the speech, CHANGE, Yes We Can, Health Care, No New Taxes and put in a lot of 'It's Bush fault' into the speech.

    January 26, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. No Incumbents 2010

    It is impossible to sell Big Government ideas to a public that is clearly demanding smaller government. No matter how lofty the rhetoric, people will not be deceived my gimmicks such as government programs that just increase the deficit. Our votes cannot be sold to politicians acting like Santa Claus with our own money.
    Clinton had success with a Republican Congress because he passed welfare reform and eliminated the deficit. Obama should pursue a similar centrist platform by proposing (1) the privitization of Amtrak (2) leaving education to the states (3) phasing out farm subsidies, and (4) turning Iraq and Afghanistan over to NATO.

    January 26, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. MA

    Blamer in Chief

    January 26, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  5. mike

    When in doubt, just start another war. The electorate seems to love wars

    January 26, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  6. mike

    Some advice to panicked Dems in Congress:

    Pass Health Care Reform Now.

    Not next month.
    Not next week.

    You'll change the narrative immediately. Your only other option is political suicide. Besides, a plurality of Americans want you to pass it.

    Why is this so hard? Every day you dither and wet your pants is causing further damage to your prospects for reelection.

    Pass the Bill. Now.

    January 26, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. Vietnam Combat Veteran, Ohio

    One thing for sure, he can't say he has delivered on his campaign promises. Still a war, still no jobs, still no health care bill, still being held hostage by the banks and wall street. And still lrtting stupid advisors work for him.

    January 26, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. Ron

    Seems like all Obama ever does is "craft a critical speech". All show and no substance and now people are really starting to recognize this. He is entirely useless and typical of the "professional politician". Time to take our country back and have people who actually represent the people. November is going to be quite interesting:)!!

    January 26, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. liberal wingnut

    You mean how he will blame Bush on everything including his own 1.3 trillion dollar deficit?

    January 26, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. joe

    No matter what the media does to you, we love you mr. President!

    January 26, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. Joanna in PA

    Don't be a Hoover Mr prez! Do not say the word "freeze". you will regret it. You have said before that you would go through the budget line by line and cut wasteful spending. That is fine, i hope you do. But the general public isn't that bright. They are easily confused and highly suggestible. Use a different word sir.

    January 26, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. Travis In Colorado

    What? Obama's speech writers haven't came up with a great and sugar painted speech for Obama to deliver yet? I'm outraged! This is obviously the evil dirty work of the Republicans! I know that George W. Bush is behind this, after all, that's Obama's battle cry. It's Bush's Fault! Or maybe it was Dick Cheney. Or worst of all, Sarah Palin! Maybe Obama can get his teleprompter czar to help! Ha ha! I can't wait to see what kind of sugar coated b.s. Obama tries to force feed us Americans this time. I can't wait for 2012.

    January 26, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  13. jake

    Pass the Bill Now - lose 100 seats in the House!

    January 26, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. CNN

    Dare you do, dare you don't, Obama. What a country we live in?

    January 26, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. gary davis harbor oregon

    whaill make is speech great he will tell the truth !
    and can americans handle it ? with out the purist republicans lies ? 🙂

    January 26, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. Jerry

    The spending needs to stop and we are broke, Please convey this to the telepromter.

    January 26, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. Ken

    We, the people, eagerly wait the promise (through the fluff of gifted oratory) of more government spending, more handouts to purchase votes, more debt, and bigger government.

    January 26, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  18. luke

    You are now rallying against something McCain was for in the election...I gues this is normal for repubs, be against evrything even if you were previously for it.

    January 26, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. Rickster

    What in the world is Barry gonna say? Um, I failed with the stimulus, I failed with the bailouts, I've failed in the war on terror, I've failed to gain cooperation with Russia and China(both of whom think I'm a weakling), I've failed on handling Iran, I've broken virtually every campaign promise I made, I've quadrupled the deficit, I've failed on the unemployment issue, I failed on bringing the Olympics home, I failed on cash-for-clunkers, I failed on campaigning for democrat candidates in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts, I push for and fail on the laughable idea of global warming and I failed to ram through my disastrous socialist healthcare bill.

    Poor Barry......he's such a loser that there just isn't any accomplishments for him to brag about.

    January 26, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. joe

    It's pretty funny how Republicans have chosen to embrace a pro-choice, pro-Romney care universal health care candidate.

    I thought you guys had convictions....guess not.

    January 26, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. Anonymous

    After all of his big spending, big government ideas, is he finally seeing the "middle class" light? I somehow doubt it. I heard he's going to extend the Bush tax cuts. One of the smartest things he can do to help the middle class!

    January 26, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. hellen

    Obama isn't panicking. He's doing the same as he always was, triangulating and begging the Republicans to stop being so mean.

    They say that the country is more polarized than it's ever been. Just think how bad things would be if Obama hadn't been sucking up to the Republicans all this time.

    The guy goes around with a big "Kick Me" sign on his butt.

    January 26, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. nick

    It is terrible how the media destroyed Mr. Obama in a week. It only took a week!

    January 26, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  24. JS007

    Can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm tired of Obama's speeches. He keeps drinking the GOP Kool-Aid and thus validating their WRONG points; how can freezing spending help create jobs? Also, why is he not exposing the GOP hypocrisy when it comes to fiscal responsibility? They blow the budget for 8 years cutting taxes for the rich and blowing up Iraq but now they are concerned about the deficit? Lastly, climate change is going down the same path as health care – compromising away everything in hopes of getting a GOP vote which then never comes. Are Democrats a bunch of idiots?

    The Democrats should say this to the GOP: if you don’t co-operate to get things done now, when you are back in power we’ll be the party of NO and sabotage EVERYTHING, just like you are doing to us now. But no, the Democrats just keep caving. Grow a spine for God’s sake! I want candidate Obama back! What happened to him?

    January 26, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  25. Four and The Door

    White House officials say the president will emphasize the importance of "creating good jobs, addressing the deficit, changing Washington, and fighting for middle class families."
    Lead Speech Writer Jon Favreau has probably the most difficult job in Washington today; making Obama look like he's the solution and not the problem for all of these issues.

    When he's done at the White House is he going to go write Brett Favre's retirement speech?

    January 26, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
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