As usual, there will be a long list of aims and ambitions, but the list of what you need to watch is very short: Where does the president stand? And where does Congress sit?
The President has already told us his major theme: "My number one focus is going to be making sure that we are competitive, and we are creating jobs not just now but well into the future," Obama said in an internet message to his supporters this week.
The future of his own job depends on how well he does that.
When Obama was inaugurated in January, 2009 the national unemployment rate was 7.6 percent.
Last month, in December, 2010, it was 9.4 percent.
Higher unemployment means lower popularity for the President.
In January, 2009, 68% of Americans approved the job he was doing. Now, two years later, 48% less than half approve.
'But we're up to it, as long as we come together as a people–Republicans, Democrats, independents," Obama said.
With an election ahead, the president is calculating how to win it…and, for him, that means winning back the independents who deserted the Democrats last November.
Too many moderates were convinced the president was too far to the political left, so listen tonight to hear how much and how quickly he intends to move to the center.
As for the seating plan – it can't hurt.
At the least, we should get more applause from both parties, at the same time, less partisan reaction, divided by an aisle: and none of this: "You lie…"
President Obama can make a speech sound like music, but if he's going to win over congress and the country tonight, he'll have to change his tune.
Because since he was elected, the country and congress have changed.
See you at 11.
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