Tonight is the night. President Obama is set to give his fifth installment of the State of the Union at 9pm ET. White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer tells Politico that while the President “will address Members of Congress and propose ways they can work together to tackle the challenges we face, tonight is about speaking to the American people.” Pfeiffer also says that the President will stress his belief that this “economy grows best not from the top-down, but from the middle-out” and that “America is stronger when our middle class is stronger.” The strategy appears to be one of populism and good old fashioned Washington arm twisting, in which the President will outline an ambitious agenda that includes gun reform, immigration and climate change and push lawmakers to act upon it. He is also said to be considering a set of executive actions, with the goal of working around a gridlocked Congress. Tuesday’s address will also focus on key foreign policy issues, including North Korea’s new nuclear test and an announcement that 34,000 U.S. troops will be home from Afghanistan a year from the day. Meanwhile, Republicans are preparing for a pair of their own addresses: one the official GOP response from FL Senator Marco Rubio, and the other a Tea Party rebuttal from KY Senator Rand Paul. It could be a case of mixed messages for the Republicans, who are looking to rebound from a tough 2012 election. Would the party be better served by reaching across the aisle rather than dividing its agenda from within? We’ll preview tonight and more when we see you at noon ET on msnbc.
Hendrik Hertzberg, Staff Writer, The New Yorker @RickHertzberg
Eugene Robinson, Columnist, The Washington Post/msnbc Political Analyst (@eugene_robinson)
Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (@econjared)
Karen Finney, Fmr. DNC Communications Director/msnbc Political Analyst (@finneyk)
McKay Coppins, Political Editor, BuzzFeed (@mckaycoppins)