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Obama to focus on economy in State of the Union address


The US economy is expected to dominate President Barack Obama’s state of the union speech later today. With unemployment stuck at eight percent, stagnant or falling wages and a middle class worrying for its future, analysts say Obama needs to use his personal popularity to build confidence.

Apart from the ongoing gun control debate, analyst Professor Allan Lichtman said the speech will need to promise to push for growth.

“I think he should be focusing on two things, and that is obviously the economy. If the economy is poor, it is really hard to do anything else. And secondly, of course, the environment and catastrophic climate change, which may be humanity’s greatest challenge of the 21st century.”

Lichtman, who is a US history professor at the American University Washington, thinks public support will help Obama get key legislation past Congress, one half which – the House of Representatives – is under Republican control.

“Congress is like Wall Street, it operates on two things: fear and greed. They are not going to be greedy for anything from Obama, but how do you make them fearful, only by getting the public behind you.”

Reporting from Washington, our correspondent Stefan Grobe said: “Barack Obama still enjoys an enormous post-election popularity. He wants to build on this to overcome Republican obstructionism in Congress and take his political fight to the American people. And therefore, the speech needs to be bold, not boring.”

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