Scenes from the State of the Union

  • President Barack Obama waves before giving his State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol Jan. 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to address income inequality, making it easier for Americans to afford college education, and child care. Also pictured are Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) (R-OH).
  • Vice President Joe Biden applauds as Speaker of the House John Boehner remains seated as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol Jan. 20, 2015 in Washington, DC.
  • President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol Jan. 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to including attempts to address income inequality and making it easier for Americans to afford college education and child care.
  • President Barack Obama prepares to give his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 20, 2015.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 20, 2015. 
  • U.S. Rep. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (C) and Republican congressional colleagues listen as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 20, 2015.
  • President Barack Obama hugs Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on  Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 20, 2015, before giving his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.
  • US President Barack Obama arrives to deliver the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2015.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama (C) his greeted as he arrives to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 20, 2015. 
  • President Barack Obama is greeted on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, before his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.
  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (Top L) and Chief Justice John Roberts (C) arrive for U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 20, 2015.
  • Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R) of Texas walks past U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (L) as he arrives for U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 20, 2015.
  • Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. greets Secretary of State John Kerry on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 20, 2015, before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.
  • Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) wait for the start of U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech Jan. 20, 2015 in Washington, DC.
  • Rep.Paul Ryam R-Wis. waits on  Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 20, 2015, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (R) (D-CA) talks with Sen. Joe Manchin (L) (D-WV) before the start of the State of the Union speech in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda including attempts to address income inequality and making it easier for Americans to afford college education and child care.
  • U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) shakes hands with Speaker of the House John Boehner as he arrives for U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 20, 2015.
  • First lady Michelle Obama (R) hugs Dr. Jill Biden before the start of U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech Jan. 20, 2015 in Washington, DC.
  • U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (L) talks with U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justices Elena Kagan (C) and Sonya Sotomayor as Justice Stephen Breyer (R) looks on before U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the U.S. Capitol in Washington Jan. 20, 2015.
  • Gen. Raymond Odierno (L) talks with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) before the start of U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech Jan. 20, 2015 in Washington, DC.
  • U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) waits for the start of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 20, 2015.
  • President Barack Obama's limousine sits parked outside the U.S. Capitol, prior to his State of the Union address to Congress, Jan. 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to address income inequality, making it easier for Americans to afford college education, and child care.
  • The U.S. Capitol Building is seen at twilight prior to the State of the Union address on Jan. 20, 2015 in Washington, DC.
  • A solitary police officer stands guard outside of the Capitol in Washington on Jan, 20, 2015, looking toward the Washington Monument before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. 
  • President Obama is seen through a window of the Oval Office as he meets with four of the letter writers who will join the first lady and Dr. Biden as guests of the administration for tonight’s State of the Union address on January 20, 2015 from The White House. Obama’s State of the Union speech will include a proposal to increase taxes on the wealthy, and a proposal to require employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers.
  • Preparations for President Obama’s State of the Union on Capitol Hill on Jan. 20, 2015 in Washington, DC.
  • Worker polishes stanchions in Statuary Hall in preparation for the State of the Union on Capitol Hill Jan. 20, 2015.
  • The early morning sun begins to rise behind the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Later this evening President Obama will deliver his sixth State of the Union address to the nation.

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Updated

President Barack Obama planned to take credit for the improving economy in his State of the Union address Monday, declaring “Tonight, we turn the page.” But Obama also warned that prosperity may only be available to “a few of us who do spectacularly well” if policies are not enacted to address the needs of the middle class. 

“At this moment - with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production - we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come,” Obama was to say, according to excerpts of the speech released by the White House Tuesday night.

Obama’s address, the sixth of his presidency and the first before a Congress controlled completely by Republicans, comes amid clear evidence that the economy is finally coming out of its long post-recession doldrums. Unemployment is at its lowest point since the 2008 crash, the Dow Jones industrial average has more than doubled, consumer confidence has doubled, the GDP has seen a complete turnaround, the deficit has been curbed, and low gas prices are expected to help grow consumer spending. More Americans are satisfied with the economy than at any point in the past 10 years, according to the latest NBC/WSJ poll.

The president’s job approval ratings have lifted along with the good economic news, giving him a bit more running room in challenging GOP lawmakers to follow his lead. 

Read the rest: Obama heralds economic recovery in State of the Union address

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography

 

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