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Obama to talk about jobs, debt and optimism

Tonight is the President’s State of the Union address. What do you think about the state of our country? Comment below……

President Obama
Photo by Tim Sloan-Pool/Getty Images

While President Obama will focus his State of the Union on the major challenges of jobs and the federal debt, he will do so in a spirit of optimism, aides said. “Tonight’s going to be all about winning the future,” senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said today on MSNBC.

 Obama administration officials have been skimpy with some of the details of the president’s speech, though we expect some to dribble out throughout the day.

 In the meantime, the White House official blog has produced a video on how Obama and aides have put together this year’s State of the Union, as well as some history of this traditional event.

 While the nation’s $14 trillion-plus debt will be part of the speech, Jarrett and others have said they expect Obama to propose a variety of programs that will help create jobs, including “investments” in such items as education, innovation, and research and development.

 “The question is where do you cut (the budget),” said Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers. “And cutting investments is a bad idea.”

 That said, Goolsbee said tonight’s speech will leave no doubt that “the president is committed to facing up to these long-run fiscal challenges.”

 Aides said Obama knows he is facing a different audience tonight, including a Republican-run House — with new Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio — and six new GOP senators, the products of big Republican wins in the Nov. 2 elections.  “We’re very hopeful that we can work together,” Jarrett said on MSNBC.

 An aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that Obama promised bipartisan cooperation in last year’s State of the Union, and that McConnell offered to work on such items as nuclear energy, expanded offshore oil drilling, clean coal, and free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.  Since then, Obama has advanced only the South Korea free trade agreement.

“Look for Sen. McConnell to talk today about the difference between rhetoric and accomplishment,” said the senator’s spokesman, Don Stewart.

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