As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening, he does it against a backdrop of some of the lowest voter-approval ratings of his presidency, with a divided Congress that has largely stalled his second-term agenda and with Washington's collective focus starting to shift toward the midterm elections and beyond.
Here are five things to expect from the president in his fifth State of the Union speech:
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
In 2008, attorney Kimberly Motley picked up and left her native Milwaukee, where she lived with her husband and two kids, and moved to Kabul. It wasn't just the first time she's been to a conflict zone, it was the first time she'd ever been out of the country.
In June 2008, Marine Cpl. Anthony Villarreal was driving back from a mission in Afghanistan when his truck was hit by a roadside bomb. He was 22 at the time and recently married to Jessica, who was just 21.
Villarreal suffered third-degree burns over most of his face and body and was very severely disfigured. His right arm and the fingers on his left hand eventually had to be amputated.
It's 8 a.m. on a recent day at Forward Operating Base Nolay, a small Marine outpost in Taliban-infested Sangin District of southern Afghanistan's Helmand province. The Marines are in the process of caffeinating and preparing for the day.
Suddenly, explosions and gunfire ring out. The Marines don't run for their weapons or bunkers for that matter. They don't even flinch.
"We can sit here and we can have a cup of coffee when there's booms going on, we're not concerned about it," says Lt. Col. Jonathan Loney.
A senior leader of the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network — considered one of the most dangerous factions fighting American troops in Afghanistan — has been killed in a U.S. drone strike over northwestern Pakistan, officials say.
Sangeen Zadran was among five people killed at a compound in the North Waziristan tribal region when a missile fired from a U.S. drone hit the building, Pakistani intelligence officials said.