Live coverage: President Obama's State of the Union speech

Live coverage: President Obama's State of the Union speech

When President Barack Obama delivers his speech tonight before a joint session of Congress, it might sound familiar. Heavy on economic themes, the address will again appeal for action on immigration and the minimum wage, and in the event Congress once again balks, he'll offer narrower programs that he could initiate on his own. Watch the speech live here at 9 p.m.
  • natalie.armstrong 1/29/2014 5:17:10 AM

    President Barack Obama outlined his strategy for getting around a divided Congress that reflects scaled-back legislative ambitions after a tough year. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

  • “In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together," Obama plans to say. "Let’s make this a year of action."
  • “Those at top have never done better,” Obama will say. “But avg wages have barely budged. Inequality's deepened. Upward mobility's stalled"
  • Obama to say tonight: "Even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead."
  • Obama: "Some require Congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still – and neither will I."
  • Watching CNN's intro for the 8 o'clock hour feels more like a dramatic Super Bowl is about to start, rather than State of the Union.
  • Energy Sec'y Ernest Moniz is"designated survivor" or "missing Cabinet member" in case of emergency at SOTU #CNNSOTU
  • walsh.benjamin 1/29/2014 1:17:14 AM
    Economic inequality is set to be a major theme in tonight's speech. The New Yorker's John Cassidy offers ten ways to address the issue. The problem as Cassidy sees it isn't just that Republicans are likely to block proposals made by the President, but that the President's own policies are too incremental. Here's a sample of what Cassidy would do "if we are serious about putting a dent in inequality":

    1. Establish a guaranteed minimum income for all American households. This is an old idea: back in the nineteen-sixties, it had the support of everybody from John Kenneth Galbraith to Milton Friedman. Raising the minimum wage would go some way towards achieving it, but only some way: many low-wage workers, particularly young ones, come from reasonably well off households. In addition, we could expand the earned-income tax credit, which acts like a negative income tax. 

  • margaret.chadbourn 1/29/2014 1:19:01 AM
    More excerpts from the post-SOTU Republican address from House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers:

    “Last month, more Americans stopped looking for a job than found one. Too many people are falling further and further behind because, right now, the President’s policies are making people’s lives harder. Republicans have plans to close the gap…Plans that focus on jobs first without more spending, government bailouts, and red tape…Every day, we’re working to expand our economy, one manufacturing job, nursing degree and small business at a time. We have plans to improve our education and training systems so you have the choice to determine where your kids go to school…to help you take home more of your paycheck...with lower taxes, cheaper energy costs, and affordable health care.”

    “We’ve all talked to too many people who have received cancellation notices they didn’t expect or who can no longer see the doctors they always have. No, we shouldn’t go back to the way things were, but the President’s health care law is not working. Republicans believe health care choices should be yours, not the government’s. And that whether you’re a boy with Down syndrome or a woman with breast cancer, you can find coverage and a doctor who will treat you.”

    “As Republicans, we advance these plans every day because we believe in a government that trusts people and doesn’t limit where you finish because of where you started. That is what we stand for – for an America that is every bit as compassionate as it is exceptional…Our plan is one that dreams big for everyone and turns its back on no one.”
  • shane.ferro 1/29/2014 1:28:31 AM
    Reuters' Counterparties blog previewed the various expected economic elements of the speech tonight:

    "The most common complaint about the annual State of the Union speech, Jeff Shesol writes, 'is that it is a laundry list, which is an insult to laundry lists.' President Obama will deliver his sixth tonight. Inequality will reportedly be a major portion of the speech. Mark Thoma writes that Obama will talk about 'ladders of opportunity' instead of focusing directly on inequality 'to avoid being accused of waging class warfare.' Jason Linkins points out that Obama has begun focusing on inequality only recently, but that could work to his advantage if he plays it the right way: 'the fact that Obama is a Johnny-come-lately to the topic has an upside — he won’t have to be the one desperately trying to point out the problem."

    Read the rest here.

  • !!Pres better set us on fire tonite. It's freezing here on the fLoor!!
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 1/29/2014 1:34:47 AM
    Slideshow: U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz' hair has been chosen as the missing Cabinet member in case of emergency during the State of the Union address: 

    REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  
    REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  
    REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino  
    REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger  

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  • Big congrats to @chrislhayes for pointing out just now that claims that 'skills mismatches' are our big economic problem are wrong.
  • Duck Dynasty's Will Robertson, in gallery for SOTU, shook hands with Paul Ryan. They chatted, shared a few laughs, via Dave Lawder @Reuters
  • President Obama's motorcade arriving at the Capitol
  • The march of the senators! RT “@SenatorReid : We're on our way to listen to the President. #SOTU

  • Nebraska Blue 1/29/2014 1:45:18 AM
    READER COMMENT: Did Joe Biden just head butt the Speaker of the House?
  • Alina Selyukh 1/29/2014 1:51:44 AM
    More from Reuters' David Lawder on the Hill: "There was a big standing ovation when Sgt Cory Remsburg and his dad entered." 

    From White House guest bios: "US Army Ranger Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg has met President Obama on three separate occasions -- once overseas and twice since a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan on his 10th deployment left him in a coma for three months, partially paralyzed and brain-damaged."
    Read a New York Times feature about Remsburg here.
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 1/29/2014 1:51:54 AM
    A sampling of recent tweets from U.S. Representative Randy Weber (R-TX): 


    1 of 3

  • walsh.benjamin 1/29/2014 1:53:30 AM
    Here are 17 inequality charts The New Republic's Noah Chestnut thinks President Obama should've already looked at.  Here's the change in real annual household income from 1979-2007:

  • Derek Caney 1/29/2014 1:56:16 AM
    State of the Union drinking game? @StuffJournalistsLike has you covered.
  • emily.stephenson 1/29/2014 1:59:20 AM
    Diane Bartz of Reuters, who is in the press pool tonight, reports that the motorcade has arrived at the Capitol. Uneventful trip, Diane says.
  • Supreme Court justices now taking seats in chamber for #SOTU
  • Just helped a few senators take a selfie. It's tough when one's arms aren't long enough #sotu

  • Michelle Obama being introduced at #SOTU : Her favorable number's higher than the President's

  • Alina Selyukh 1/29/2014 2:04:16 AM
    The White House cabinet is settling in. Time to refer back to the slideshow of the one member - U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz - not attending, staying behind as the designated survivor.
  • Alina Selyukh 1/29/2014 2:07:18 AM
    Some thoughts from Reuters medical/health reporter:

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  • The state of the union? It wasn't always "strong."
  • margaret.chadbourn 1/29/2014 2:12:39 AM
    The blue ribbons that you see many Members wearing tonight are to demonstrate support for extending unemployment insurance. Many guests in the gallery are also wearing the ribbons -- as more than a dozen unemployed Americans are attending the State of the Union tonight who were cut off when the federal program expired. Emergency unemployment insurance for those who have been jobless for longer than 26 weeks expired in late December.
  • Obama says to Secretary Kerry: "Keeping busy."
  • emily.stephenson 1/29/2014 2:14:23 AM
    Five of the nine Supreme Court justices were expected to attend the speech: Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.

    That means justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor are not at the Capitol for the State of the Union address.
  • Presidents practice their speech in the White House Theater, complete with tele-prompter - and a lot less applause.
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 1/29/2014 2:17:18 AM
    Google Docs: text of 2014 State of the Union address 
  • Alina Selyukh 1/29/2014 2:17:30 AM
    Obama's prepared remarks run nearly 6,800 words long...
  • We do have the lowest unemployment rate in over five years. #SOTU

  • Derek Caney 1/29/2014 2:18:58 AM
  • Word count in State of the Union speech: Job (39 times), Iran (10), energy (8), women (6) health care (4), immigration (3), "Mad Men" (1)
  • "The lowest unemployment rate in over………………five years." #wompwomp
  • The President asks, "Will Congress help or hinder recovery?" Good question... so far fiscal headwinds have hindered. #SOTU
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 1/29/2014 2:22:34 AM

    First lady Michelle Obama gives two thumbs up to U.S. Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg, injured while serving in Afghanistan, as she arrives prior to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington January 28, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

  • Skimmed the #SOTU speech a couple times. Not a word on financial regulation that I can see.
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 1/29/2014 2:23:51 AM

    Reuters' Jeff Mason reports: President Obama will say that 2014 is the year to close the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison, a senior administration official told reporters before his State of the Union address. Obama will not announce his plans for future U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan and will not mention the Keystone XL oil pipeline during his address, the officials said.

    The administration faces decisions on troops and on whether or not to approve the pipeline from Canada this year. Obama will say he wants to work with Congress to win broad bipartisan support to pass measures that would give him fast-track authority to enact free trade pacts, the White House said. 

  • shane.ferro 1/29/2014 2:24:51 AM
    As Obama talks about the unemployment rate, remember that part of the reason it is declining is that people are dropping out of the labor force. Here's a Reuters graphic from the December jobs report, which we wrote about on our Data Dive blog: 

  • "The son of a barkeep is Speaker of the House." - I think Boehner really enjoyed that line - he looks almost teary...
  • Nebraska Blue 1/29/2014 2:26:00 AM
    READER COMMENT: wow… a standing O from both sides of the aisle, and by referencing a bartender!
  • "..whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do" #SOTU
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