Feb 12, 2013 / 6:30 am
President Barack Obama will be looking across a vast partisan divide Tuesday night as he reports to Congress and the nation with his annual State of the Union speech, which is closely monitored as the blueprint for his goals for the year. They include job creation and a push for the ambitious progressive plans he outlined in his second inaugural address three weeks ago.
Obama hopes he can encourage lawmakers to join him in reforming laws on gun ownership and immigration and boosting taxes to raise government spending power. The president's priorities also include easing back on spending cuts and addressing climate change.
He'll also address the news from North Korea, which said it successfully detonated a nuclear device Tuesday in defiance of U.N. warnings. The White House said the president would make the case that the nuclear program had only further isolated the impoverished nation.
Aware of the partisan gridlock gripping Washington, Obama is banking on his popularity and the political capital from his convincing re-election in November as he calls on Americans to join him in his vision for what he calls a fairer country with greater opportunity for all.
With Republicans in control of the House of Representatives and exerting influence in the Democratic-controlled Senate, Obama plans immediately afterward to make a two-day, three-state foray to take his message directly to the American people. Congress fought the president to a near standstill on virtually every White House initiative during his first term, though he succeeded in overhauling the health care system.
In his second term, Obama has decided that he may stand a better chance of moving his agenda through Congress by drawing support from outside the capital rather than from within.
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