President Obama's State of the Union address tonight will offer new legislative proposals and a bit of theater, say pundits as the president distances himself from an unpopular Congress and promises to use executive powers to implement some of his priorities.
The White House will offer an "enhanced" viewing experience complete with links to Facebook and Twitter feeds, and a chance to pose questions to the president, some of which will be answered on Friday.
Maryland will host the president on a followup trip at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday to promote his State of the Union themes. According to the Washington Times, Obama will speak about the need for more federal investment in infrastructure, and income inequality during a stop at Costco’s Lanham store. The event is not open to the public.
The address will begin at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday and will be followed by three rebuttals from the Republican party. The official Republican response will be delivered by Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, says Time magazine, as a way to deflect the Democratic charge that the GOP is waging war on women.
The Tea Party will weigh in with a response by Utah Sen. Mike Lee, the architect of the plan that shut down the government last fall. And Sen. Rand Paul, last year’s Tea Party responder, will critique Obama’s speech over social media, the magazine says.
While Obama will ask both houses of Congress to approve legislation he’ll submit, he'll also argue that he can act on his own to accomplish some things, such as pushing for a minimum wage increase.
The Huffington Post says Obama will announce that he will sign an executive order increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 for new federal contracts. The move is part of his broader call for an increase in the national minimum wage to $10.10, something some Maryland and Virginia counties have enacted on their own.
- NBC will have live coverage of the address, and the Republican response starting at 9 p.m. Brian Williams will anchor the coverage, joined by David Gregory, Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell, with Kelly O’Donnell inside the House chamber. NBC’s coverage will stream live on NBCNews.com.
- CBS News will air the speech live at 9 p.m., anchored by Scott Pelley, formerly of McLean, VA.
- ABC News coverage begins tonight at 9. Political correspondents Jonathan Karl, Martha Raddatz and Jeff Zeleny will join anchors Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos to preview potential topics before the address and dissect the material immediately following the broadcast.
- CNN will begin its coverage at 7 p.m. with anchors Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper. Guests will include Obama biographer and journalist David Maraniss, former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, former George W. Bush adviser Karen Hughes, and Nobel Prize winner and The New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman.
- FOX News will feature Shepard Smith of FOX News Channel anchoring separate live coverage of the 2014 State of the Union address beginning at 9pm. FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace will join Smith to provide analysis of the address and the Republican response.
- C-SPAN coverage begins with a preview to the 2014 State of the Union address at 8 p.m., followed by live coverage of the speech. Live coverage of the GOP response to the address is scheduled for 9:45 p.m., followed by viewer reaction to the State of the Union address live at 10 p.m.
CNN reports that special guests sitting with First Lady Michelle Obama for the speech include: Jason Collins, the former NBA player who last year became the first openly gay male athlete in a major pro league; two survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings — Carlos Arredondo, who was shown in a photo around the world rushing to help Jeff Bauman after the blast; and Fire Chief Gary Bird from Moore, Okla., which was hit by a massive tornado in May that killed 25 people.
Formerly known as the “Annual Message,” the State of the Union Address has a rich history. Presidents Washington and Adams delivered live addresses to Congress, but in 1801 President Thomas Jefferson chose to submit his address in writing. That tradition held until President Woodrow Wilson resumed the practice of live addresses in 1913.
In addition to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, attendees will include the President’s Cabinet, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chief Justice and Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.S. Diplomatic Corps.