Posted: 8:35 pm Monday, January 11th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
President Obama is expected to use his last State of the Union Address to both look back on what he feels are his successes, and to set out an agenda for this election year and beyond, with an emphasis on a call for Congress to act on legislation dealing with gun violence in America.
“There are a lot of accomplishments for us to discuss that have been achieved over the last seven years,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
“The President intends to use this speech to convey his optimism for the future of the country,” Earnest said at his regular Monday briefing for reporters.
“There certainly are a lot of things the President is looking forward to getting done in the year ahead,” Earnest told reporters.
Earnest said some of the issues sure to be discussed by the President include not only guns, but also the need for criminal justice reforms, and Congressional approval of a major trade deal with a group of Pacific Rim nations.
In Congress, fellow Democrats had their own ideas for how the Obama speech should be structured.
“I would like to see him talk about the many successes of his administration,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) of the President.
“This is his last State of the Union,” Johnson added.
On the Republican side, several GOP lawmakers that I spoke to in the last week predicted the President would publicly chide them on issues like gun control.
“We’re going to get lectured in the State of the Union Address,” said Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK).
“I think we’ll be lectured on issues that will try to distract us from what has been the failed policies of this administration,” said Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL).
“I think he’s playing to the liberal base,” said Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL).
“You know what though – it will be the last time I have to hear it from him,” Yoho added with a laugh.
Of the three Republican Senators still running for President, Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rand Paul (R-KY) will both be in Washington for the President’s speech.
Ted Cruz (R-TX) will skip the State of the Union, opting instead to spend the day making campaign stops in New Hampshire, which holds its first-in-the-nation primary on February 9.
On the Democratic side, you can look for a crowd shot of Sen. Bernie Sanders as well, as he gets to imagine himself giving the same type of speech to his colleagues next year.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.