Economy to be focus of Obama's State of the Union speech, aides say
President Obama's State of the Union address will sound a lot more like his re-election stump speech and less like his second inaugural address, aides familiar with the process said.
While Mr. Obama will mention the three biggest early areas of emphasis in his second term - gun control, immigration reform and climate change - the references will be condensed and relatively minor next to an emphasis on economic themes such as job creation, wage growth and mobility into the middle class. These themes will dominate and serve, aides said, as a springboard to place the economic message above all others.
The uncharacteristically early White House preview of the speech suggests as sense of internal nervousness. In the past week, some Democrats have warned Mr. Obama he risked losing touch with economic concerns as he dealt repeatedly with guns, immigration and, to a lesser extent, climate change.
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"The early themes of the second term have been focused on the constituent groups that helped get the president re-elected," said a Democratic strategist with deep ties to the White House. "But the economy is still the No. 1 issue for the country and I've worried the president was missing that."
The speech is done except for some microscopic revisions, aides said. New chief White House speechwriter Cody Keenan penned the address with Mr. Obama. Keenan succeeds Jon Favreau who leaves the White House on March 1 but historically left the drafting of State of the Union addresses to Keenan. Favreau has told White House colleagues he may soon try his hand at scriptwriting, possibly in Hollywood.
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