tA more aggressive President Obama will enter the U.S. House chambers on Tuesday night and undoubtedly add more to the partisan gridlock, regardless of what he says. Republicans are soul-searching. Obama is legacy building and unpleased over the fallout of his first term.
As you listen to pundits and post-day analysis throughout the coming week, consider these things that they are probably looking for in President Obama’s address:
Will Obama turn 180º from his first State of the Union speech pleading for bipartisan accord? Will the political jabs come flying, or will Obama channel his rhetoric towards the American people more so than to the Congress sitting in front of him? A hint to the latter: Obama appears to already be bypassing Congress via his Organizing for Action nonprofit and campaign-style pitches for his White House agenda.
2. Healthcare reform:
How much attention does Obama give to his first term jewel of healthcare? How will he address rising costs and the further implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2013 in a wide array of levels of state compliancy.
3. Global warming:
Climate, Mr. Obama? Watch for any indication of a administrative stance on the contentious Keystone Pipeline.
4. Gun control:
Just how much shelf life does the gun control topic have? Is he serious about this, or has the reach of his arm already been extended through his executive orders? My guess is on the former.
5. Economic retraction:
How will the president respond to the GDP retraction in the last quarter of 2012?
6. His guests:
Watch for his guests. Potential Cabinet members galore? Who is sitting next to the First Lady? Additionally, Hadiya Pendleton's mother, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, will be in attendance at the president's State of the Union speech. Hadiya Pendleton, 15, was a Chicago High School student who was killed via gunshot just 3 blocks from her high school one week after performing at the Inauguration.
7. Joe Biden:
How much credit or responsibility does Obama hint towards giving Biden in his speech? How will this affect his potency as a Presidential candidate in 2016?
8. Boehner's reactions:
Watch the embattled John Boehner and his reactions (especially the number of times he claps for Obama), knowing that his house leadership is being called into question despite being re-elected as Speaker of the House.
9. Anything Marco Rubio says or does:
That handsome man, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will give the GOP rebuttal. I’ll post more about this later, but make no mistake about it; the State of the Union does not simply end when Obama leaves the chamber.
For more coverage, follow Robin's LIVE updates on the State of the Union here.