On Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. EST, President Obama will deliver his fourth State of the Union address. After his impassioned inaugural speech, which touched on social issues such as immigration reform, gun control, gay rights and climate change, Obama must now turn to the nation's top priority -- the economy. With unemployment up at 7.9% last month and the impending Bush era tax cuts to go into effect later this year, jobs and the budget deficit remain primary concerns. While he might be tempted to avoid the elephant in the room, Obama would do better to comment on the economy, and not just in passing. He is unlikely to say anything new about foreign policy, beyond reaffirming his commitment to retreat from international conflicts and concentrate on domestic issues. Popular with the public and with time on his side, Obama is well-positioned to lay out his agenda for the next four years before Congress, and perhaps do more to push for bipartisanship.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will deliver the official Republican response, a clear indication that the GOP is reaching out to the Hispanic population as well as younger voters. One of eight senators to propose a bipartisan framework to address immigration last month, Rubio could shape the GOP's position on Obama's second term as cooperative rather than confrontational. However, he is still likely to challenge Obama on a range of issues, not least the economy.
Stay tuned for PolicyMic's live commentary and analysis as the President looks ahead at a challenging but exciting second term!