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:
Just like the issues and themes that color the annual State of the Union speech, the list of White House invitees is intended to send a message about what an administration cares about and prioritizes.
The State of the Union guests, after all, are announced beforehand with biographies attached. And the typically staggered announcement of names allows the media to chew them over for several news cycles.
Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall and Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski are once again urging members of Congress to cross the aisle and sit with members of the opposite party during Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
LISTEN: President Obama's national security address
(This post was most recently updated at 1:30 p.m. ET.)
Saying that "critics are right to point out that without proper safeguards, this type of program could be used to yield more information about our private lives," President Obama said Friday that he wants the National Security Agency to stop holding on to massive amounts of "metadata" about the phone calls and electronic communications of millions of people around the world.