Obama expected to frame election issues in optimistic State of the Union address

, by Laura Ikeji

ImageGetty Images

President Barack Obama is set to strike an optimistic and hopeful tone in his final State of the Union address.

The president will focus on cementing his legacy rather than unveiling new policies, officials have said.

Mr Obama is expected to frame some of the key issues in a way that fellow Democrats can embrace during campaigning for the upcoming election.

However, recent polls suggest that seven in 10 people in the US do not share their leader's optimism.

A response by the Republican party will be delivered by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.


Mr Obama's aides have avoided characterising the speech as a victory lap, but say it will highlight his accomplishments over the past seven years.

They say that it will present an optimistic alternative to the dire narratives put forward by Republican presidential candidates.

ImageGetty ImagesImageMr Obama, seen on TV in Cuba announcing the restoration of diplomatic ties, is expected to cheer the rapprochement

Among the events and developments that he will tout as successes are:

nuclear deal with Iranrapprochement with CubaParis climate change pactrecent budget deal with Republicansrecent gun control reformspositive economic indicators, including low unemployment and rising interest rates

He will also continue his public messaging campaign aimed at improving the image of his strategy against the so-called Islamic State.

Keeping with tradition, the president will speak about what he would like to see Congress work on and his vision for the US beyond his last year in office.

While he is not expected to offer a large list of policy proposals, he could urge action on a number of items he feels have been left undone or could be accomplished with bipartisan support during his remaining year in office.

Among the items that could be on his to-do list:

closing Guantanamo Bay prison campcriminal justice reformapproving the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal

MediaWhat to watch for in President Obama's final State of the Union

Also keeping with tradition, First Lady Michelle Obama will host several gueststhat reflect the president's vision for US society.

This year, an empty chair will be featured in remembrance of gun violence victims.

Among the many guests:

Syrian refugee Refaai HamoMicrosoft CEO Satya Nadellafirst female US Army Ranger Lisa JasterSupreme Court plaintiff Jim ObergefellMuslim US Army Veteran Naveed ShahMexican immigrant and science proponent Oscar Vazquez

The speech is expected to begin around 21:00 local time (02:00 GMT), and has - in the past - had a duration of about an hour.

Mr Obama's remarks mark the fulfilment of a constitutional mandate that requires the president to "from time to time give the Congress information on the State of the Union".

Historically, the update has usually been given annually, in January, as a speech to a joint session of Congress


Anonymous said...

Balack Obama you will have to retire since