“When President Barack Obama delivers his second State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, he will have a special charge: winning over Republicans still skeptical about whether he is willing to compromise and be an ally in the fight to create jobs, reduce the deficit and get the budget back in the black,” Roll Call writes. It adds, “This year’s speech couldn’t be more different from last year’s. Rather than focus on specific Democratic policy proposals, Obama will speak in broad themes that already have strong bipartisan support: job creation, international competitiveness and fiscal discipline. And he will be looking to appeal to a new GOP House majority -- and independent voters -- with talk of consensus building and gentler rhetoric; he will build on the message he delivered in his speech earlier this month at the Tucson, Ariz., memorial.”
The New York Times: "In his first State of the Union address before a Congress under divided control, advisers say Mr. Obama will lay out his case for investment in education and infrastructure, while tempering his call for new initiatives with an acknowledgment of the country’s long-term fiscal challenges. The speech — the details of which have been held more closely than usual — offers the president an opportunity to redefine his administration at the start of the 2012 presidential campaign."
The Hill wonders if Bill Clinton’s 1995 address can serve as a roadmap to Obama’s tonight: “Clinton in 1995 called for the New Covenant, an agreement that lawmakers would work on behalf of the people to cut government’s size and make it more responsible to Americans. Obama’s 2011 speech is themed “Winning the Future,” and is focused on making a direct appeal to lawmakers and the nation on the need to enhance the country’s global competitiveness.”
By the way, the hero intern Daniel Hernandez “credited with saving the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is urging President Obama to support tougher gun laws in response to the deadly Arizona shootings.” He said, “It is my hope that President Obama and Congress will work together right away to reform our gun background-check system so that all records of dangerous people are in the system and all gun buyers will have to pass a thorough background check,” Hernandez said Monday in a statement. Such changes should “be done in a way that does not infringe on Second Amendment rights,” he added, “so that responsible citizens may exercise their right to bear arms.”
The Daily News’ DeFrank: “If there's any doubt Obama now gets the new centrist reality, it should be erased by his response to the Tucson horror. Not his speech at the memorial service, although his powerful, healing remarks drew rare bipartisan accolades and burnished Obama's political comeback. It was, instead, his decision to offer an Air Force One seat to a rookie congressman who famously called him the worst President in history in a campaign spot. Lyndon Johnson would have taken his wrath out on a water project in young Ben Quayle's home district. Barack Obama saw an opportunity to be magnanimous - and presidential - and grabbed it.”
“Among the advice Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is getting before Tuesday night’s big speech: Stick with broad themes; don’t be negative; and smile and look like Ronald Reagan,” The Hill reports.
Carol Browner, the head of the White House Office of Energy and Environment, is leaving the administration, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie reported last night. There’s no word from the administration on whether Browner will be replaced or if the position will be eliminated.
The New York Times says her departure “signals at least a temporary slowing of the ambitious environmental goals of President Obama’s first two years in the face of new Republican strength in Congress.”