On Tuesday night President Obama will tell Congress and the American people how he views the State of the Union. This is the first such speech during his second term–a term that will shape his legacy and his place in history.
The president is certain the talk about jobs and the economy, but insiders also say to listen for issues Obama touched on in his inaugural address: the middle class, infrastructure, and the environment. Michael Waldman, Executive Director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU, said on Monday’s show that the inaugural was “the best speech he has given as president. It didn’t have some of the drabness and caution as some of his earlier speeches, it actually said something. I think if he keeps going with that approach of boldness and ambition, it’s not that everything he says will get enacted into law but he will be able to make a case to the country and with some vivid colors and strong arguments.” Waldman was director of speechwriting for President Clinton.
This State of the Union is a rare opportunity for President Obama. Unlike past years he does not have an acute economic crisis or an election looming over him. He has a change to lay out a vision of what kind of country we should be. “The State of the Union speech is not just about getting applause,” Michael Waldman said, “it’s the governing document, it’s an agenda for the administration and, the president will hope, for the whole country.”