Nation awaits Pres. Obama's State of the Union

July 22, 2010 9:51:13 AM PDT
A lot will be on the line when President Barack Obama delivers his first State of the Union address tonight in Washington.His speech comes at a time of political uncertainty for the president.

After losing the Senate seat in Massachusetts, many analysts say the president and the Democrats may have to present a new message to American voters.

"It was a wake-up call for us and we're fools if we don't pay attention to it," said Sen. Dick Durbin, (D) assistant majority leader.

In a less than a week, the political landscape has shifted.

The Senate's second highest ranking Democrat, Dick Durbin, now must pivot his party away from the full-on focus on heath care reform to the priorities polls indicate the public wants.

"The economy is weak. We've lost too many jobs and what we heard from Massachusetts is roll up your sleeves and get focused," said Durbin.

Durbin and others say President Obama's speech tonight will focus on the economy and creating jobs. He'll propose a three year freeze on discretionary federal spending to relieve the deficit and take responsibility for the harsh political climate in DC; he'll also express disappointment that promises to tone-down partisanship have yet to be realized.

"There aren't any magic solutions to it. It's going to be a slow chipping away and what I'm going to do is propose a series of measures that show we are serious about it," Obama told ABC News.

"There's a little bit too much joy in Mudville now, there's a little too much joy in defeating things," said Rep. Mike Quigley, (D) Chicago.

"It's incumbent on Republicans now not to over-interpret the electoral results. Because I think there was just as much of a criticism of Washington in general as there was a boost in the arm of the GOP," said Rep, Peter Roskam, (R) Wheaton.

"The president is going to move forward and make sure he addresses the economy and jobs, jobs, job that need to happen," said Rep. Judy Biggert, (R) Hinsdale.

Republicans will also be listening to hear if the President mentions his plan to move terrorism suspects from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to a soon-to-be acquired prison in Thomson, Illinois.

"We obviously are in favor of opening the prison for its intended purposes but we don't need the GITMO prisoners there because they would create a magnet for terrorism," said Rep. Don Manzullo, (R) Rockford.

According to the White House, two-thirds of the entire speech will focus on the economy.


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