Some Obama allies are upset with his executive order omissions, particularly on gay rights and immigration. “Gay rights advocates are seething over Obama's refusal to grant employment discrimination protections to gays and lesbians working for federal contractors, safeguards they have been seeking for years,” AP writes. “And some immigration overhaul supporters were disappointed that he did not act on his own to halt deportations, which have soared during his presidency and angered many Hispanics. On both issues, White House officials say the place for action is in Congress, where successful legislation would be far more sweeping than the steps the president could take by himself. But work on an employment non-discrimination bill and an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws is stalled on Capitol Hill, leaving advocates perplexed as to why their calls for executive action did not fit into Obama's vow to act ‘whenever and wherever’ Congress will not.”
Political Wire: “TV Newser: ‘According to Nielsen, 33.3 million viewers watched the President's fifth State of the Union address across 13 networks, down from 33.5 million viewers last year. It was the lowest audience for the State of the Union since Bill Clinton delivered the address in 2000.’”
“Many global investors fear that reduced Fed bond buying will raise U.S. interest rates and cause investors to move money out of emerging markets and into the United States for higher returns. Currency values in emerging economies have fallen over that concern,” AP writes.
Peace talks: “Syrian President Bashar Assad's adviser on Wednesday rejected the opposition's call for a transitional governing body and suggested for the first time that a presidential election scheduled to be held later this year may not take place amid the raging violence,” AP writes.