January 24th, 2012
03:43 PM ET
10 years ago

State of the Union as campaign frame

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday is more than a blueprint for fixing the economy, as Democratic aides like to describe it. It's a political speech that will frame the President's re-election message as a choice between two different visions for the future of the country and the role of government.

The President's campaign does not want this election to be a referendum on the president and his stewardship of the economy. That, for them, would be bad. Instead, they want a contrast campaign between a GOP they can define as allied with wealthy interests – the same kind of forces that brought the economy to its knees in 2008 – versus a President who will fight for regular working Americans.

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The President says he will draw on themes from the Kansas speech he delivered in early December. You can expect him to talk again about one kind of economy where the wealthy and reckless (translation: irresponsible mortgage lenders and Wall Street deal makers) get ahead. And another kind of economy where regular Americans have an opportunity to advance with hard work. Guess which economy the campaign claims - and implicitly the president - the GOP will usher in and which one the President can bring?

Democratic sources acknowledge that to succeed in November the President has to make the case that his policies have begun to make a difference – the economy is showing signs of improvement. And his team has numbers he can cite to show signs of life in the economy. Some of the figures the administration has used recently to make that case: The economy has added nearly 3.2 million private sector jobs over the last 22 months. The American auto industry is coming back, adding 100,000 jobs in the last year. American manufacturing is creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s. American oil production is at the highest level in eight years.

A big piece of the president's message is positioning himself against Washington – and expect some of that again Tuesday night with the President arguing Congress like the rest of Washington has to take "responsibility."

Also see:

Gingrich close to 'money bomb' goal

Gingrich lands Fred Thompson endorsement

New year, old fights in Congress

Filed under: State of the Union • White House
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Jake

    after all of the GOP debate nonsense, I am truly looking forward to hearing from President Obama!

    January 24, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. king

    Obama you have done your best to save average American, atlast the repubs will sell out their own self interest to the rich and powerful to send American jobs to China. Lesson if we cut the average spenders money in the economy, we will lose our consumer spending power, and since 75 percent of our economy is spending, what else can Americans turn to. First of all the share holders wont allow their corporations to stay in America with 300 million, when they can go to China with 7 times more spenders than we've got. These repubs are setting up America for another trickle down disaster, only this time its on speed.

    January 24, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Will be attending one of the many State of the Union parties being held.
    Looking forward to listening to a true statesman, intelligent individual, unifier and representative of the best America has to offer the world: President Barack Hussein Obama.

    January 24, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. willie floyd

    What a wonderful change from what we have heard in these horrible debates! We will be with you all the way. If the congress doesn't soon get their act together and stop fighting you on everything they may find themselves among the many jobless in the country. God bless you Mr. President

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    January 24, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. bullock w

    Kick out of presdient obama 2012 cause he had problems his job for 3 year no no no excuse him for 3 year just he like keep playing games

    January 24, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. ContrastandCompare

    This man has been in campaign mode since 2004... Never has stopped.

    Hasn't been a leader or actual president yet. Blame game again headlines State of Union (Crisis in America ) speech tonight.

    Boring... No new news there.

    Isn't there a Republican debate on one of the cable channels, please. That is more informative and entertaining at the same time.

    Anyway... "Hope and Change" speech tonight will be called "Pain and Misery, Not might fault"speech. Will down in history as the greatest failures since Jimmy Carter. Lord help us.

    January 24, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. chrystal055

    Common Sense,says Obama has Failed!Need Real Leadership in Washington,no more Crap!!!

    January 24, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Little Jimmy Truth

    Time to open Obama's closet.

    January 24, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. baron

    since when did jesica yellin became a GOP talking head... Always trying to paint Obama as campaigning round the clock. seems to me like she is recycling Mittens talking points

    January 24, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. ContrastandCompare

    Typing error...

    "Not my fault" speech.

    At least I'm trying to fix my mistake and took ownership of it.

    Mr. O... NO...... doesn't!

    January 24, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Joey

    Obama will put out enough hot air out tonight to launch a thousand balloons. Lefties will lap it up like pigs at a trough.

    January 24, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. ContrastandCompare

    @ Dominican mama 4 obama...

    Will the famous Obama Kool-aid going to be served at after parrrrrr-tyyyyyy?

    Get a big glass, you are going to need it.

    Helps swollow the lies and disceptions he will present tonight.

    Drink up, last call.

    Bye bye, na na na, good bye.... Not OBAMA 2012

    NEWT 2012. USA, USA, USA.

    you get it, right?

    January 24, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Rickster

    Romney paid $6.2 million to the taxman and donated a staggering $7 million to charity.

    Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle gave $10,772 of the $1.2 million they earned from 2000 through 2004 to charities, or less than 1 percent, according to tax returns for those years released today by his campaign

    The Bidens gave an average of $369 to charity a year for the decade before he moved to the Naval Observatory – about 0.3 percent of their income. Back in 1997, then veep Al Gore and his then wife Tipper gave $353.

    Looks like some people, namely democrats, aren't paying "their fair share".

    January 24, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. Gloria

    I'm looking forward to my President's speech tonight.

    January 24, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. ContrastandCompare


    Nice job. The president spent 20 years on Rev Wright's church and apparently only learnt about social injustice and socialism. Must have slept through the sermons on tithing and giving. Not much sacrfice coming from 1st Family. Not setting good example for his kids either. Not a leader at home. But, what did we expect? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    January 24, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ ContrastandCompare: More and more I find myself coming to this site for the laughs and giggles that folks like you provide. Thanks for coming through.

    January 24, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. ContrastandCompare

    @ Rickter.

    Good points. He must have missed Rev. Wrights sermons on giving and tithing. For those out there who missed it, that starts at 10% of first fruits (income or profits) and adds to that based upon condition of your heart towards God and mankind.

    Sad example for 1st family.

    January 24, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  18. ContrastandCompare

    @ dominican mama

    you warm our hearts too. Keep believing, click your heels three times... And poof, the world is a better place because of BHO.


    January 24, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    When you have to resort to name calling and personal insults, that is a sign that you have run out of ideas and your position is indefensible. In other words, it is seen as a sign of surrender. You lose.

    January 24, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  20. maf

    @Rickster @ContrastandCompare

    How about you provide us with how much you two have "given" to charity. The Mormon church MANDATES tithing back to the Church. Who knows how much Romney would actually "give" had he not been Mormon. Also, you are comparing slightly different income levels. Even the President is not on the same par as Romney.

    Whatever happened to "if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all". If you don't like the President's rhetoric, DON'T WATCH!!! I can't wait to hear some intelligent discourse following on the heels of so much GOP primary fodder.

    January 24, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  21. unsub

    one phrase makes me proud and the republicans CRINGE!..."LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!" and Obama enters the room and addresses the WORLD! watch Speaker Boner over his left shoulder cringe with that sour puss and look of total disdain! priceless I tell ya!

    January 24, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  22. unsub

    time for some common sense! Bring on my president! vs the nonsense we heard at yesterday's debate

    January 24, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |