President Barack Obama will make his last State of the Union address today (0200 GMT on Wednesday), outlining his aims for the remainder of his tenure and beyond, as well as reinforce his pre-existing ideals. These include garnering support for a Pacific trade pact, justification of his executive decision to introduce tighter gun laws and plans towards closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison, a promise he made during his campaigns for Presidency.
The speech to a joint session of Congress will be the President’s last few chances at the big stage. As with democratic tradition, the President is expected to stick to legacy themes and steer clear of new legislative proposals that his fellow Democrats on the presidential campaign trail are laying out themselves.
According to Reuters, White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday blamed an “avalanche of negativity” from Republican candidates noting that the President had seen his union address as “an opportunity to talk to the country bluntly about the challenges that we face and the opportunities that are there for the taking.”
Another key topic that the President is expected to outline would be the ongoing US anti-ISIS coalition efforts. While definite plans following the decision to deploy special forces into ISIS controlled regions might not be laid out, he is expected to repudiate comments from Republican candidates that current levels of involvement are too “meagre”, amongst other accusations that not enough is done on the fight against ISIS.
“The president should articulate the argument … for the values that underlie his presidency and provide some degree of contrast with (the) competing vision for what makes America great that we are seeing in the Republican Party,” said Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, a think tank based in the United States.
Indeed, that seems to be what the President had in mind. In a video released by the White House, the President mentioned that his focus would be be restricted to “just the remarkable progress we’ve made, not just what I want to get done in the year ahead, but what we all need to do together in the years to come — the big things that will guarantee an even stronger, better, more prosperous America for our kids. The America we believe in. That’s what’s on my mind.”