Some pre-SOTU notes:
WaPo: In State of the Union, Obama to return to jobs and the economy
Several senior administration officials involved in the speech say he will use his fourth State of the Union address to talk about jobs after the national unemployment rate ticked up last month. He will propose ways to make college more affordable to more people. And, the officials said, he will argue for the need to spend public money — on research, on roads, on education — to prepare Americans for a world where a warming climate, a nomadic labor force and new technology are shutting doors and opening new ones across the national economy.
NYT: In Address, President Will Focus on the Middle Class
President Obama on Tuesday will seek to move beyond the politics of the moment to define a second-term agenda built around restoring economic prosperity to the middle class, using his State of the Union address to unveil initiatives in education, infrastructure, clean energy and manufacturing... Mr. Obama will insist that only “a thriving middle class” can stimulate long-term growth and that Americans must be given the tools to succeed, according to the officials, who discussed the speech on the condition of anonymity.
AP: Economy to be Obama's Focus in State of the Union
President Barack Obama will focus his State of the Union address on boosting job creation and economic growth at a time of high unemployment, underscoring the degree to which the economy could threaten his ability to pursue second-term priorities such as gun control, immigration policy and climate change.
The Hill: Obama’s State of the Union to add details to far-reaching second-term agenda
The economy will remain Topic A, and Obama’s speech is expected to warn of the danger automatic spending cuts known as the sequester pose to a slowly improving economy. At the same time, Obama will give due weight to other priorities such as immigration and gun control...After a first-term in which he broke Republicans on taxes and won legislative overhauls of the healthcare and financial systems, Obama has won a place in history. Yet the ambitions of his inaugural address offered the promise to Democrats and warning to Republicans that he is not done yet. Obama wants to add to his first-term accomplishments with legislation on immigration and gun control, and his inaugural address also indicated gay rights and climate change remain priorities.
National Journal: Obama's Best Jobs Play for the State of the Union: Think Big
As Obama signaled to last week to House Democrats at a retreat, he’ll again argue that investments in education and energy, along with a “fairness agenda” for the middle class, will lead to growth. As for the more immediate unemployment problem, he is expected to talk about infrastructure upgrades and he could revive other stimulus proposals that Congress did not pass. Among them are school repairs, aid to state and local governments beset by layoffs, and tax breaks for small businesses. The blueprint coming in April from Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray could well include similar measures.
Pew Research Tip Sheet: State of the Union 2013
President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union address to the nation on Tues., Feb. 12. We’ve pulled together key Pew Research findings across 10 topics that Obama is likely to discuss : Economy and jobs, deficit, middle class, guns, foreign policy, immigration, trade, climate change, and social issues.
NYT: SOTU Guest Giffords Eases Steadily Into New Life, and Cause
Ms. Giffords, a former Democratic congresswoman from Arizona, a gun owner, an astronaut’s wife, a shooting survivor and an incipient gun-control advocate, is settling into the third act of her public life. Her career as a lawmaker is behind her, but so is her role as the fragile, slightly mysterious victim in the months after she was shot point-blank in a parking lot here just over two years ago. Now, she is the face and emotional dynamism behind a new advocacy group and a separate political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions, dedicated to reducing gun violence. It is an effort, she said, that gives her “purpose.”
TPM: Rand Paul: Tea Party SOTU Response Not ‘Divisive’
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Sunday that the tea party response to President Obama's State of the Union address that he will deliver is not meant to divide conservatives. The idea is to give an "extra" response in addition to the Republican one, which will be delivered by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Paul explained.
White House: 2013 State of the Union Enhanced Livestream
Watch an enhanced version of the President's speech with charts, graphs and data only on WhiteHouse.gov. Stay tuned for a live panel with White House policy experts after the speech, and submit questions on twitter with #WHChat.