U.S. President Barack Obama set for final State of the Union address

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address Tuesday night is his last high-profile opportunity to speak to the public before voting in the first presidential nominating contests begins on Feb.

See Full Article

1 with the Iowa caucuses.

After six years of pitching ambitious proposals in his annual speech to both houses of Congress, Obama plans to return to the hopeful tenor of his two presidential campaigns and give voice to themes that Democrats can embrace in their campaigns to replace him and win back control of Congress.

Obama won't directly appeal for Americans to keep the Democratic Party in the White House for a third straight term. But he will outline domestic and international priorities that build on steps he's taken in office, a vision certain to be more in line with Hillary Clinton and other Democrats than the Republican presidential candidates.

Some presidential candidates, including Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, will be on hand for Obama's address. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent seeking the Democratic nomination, will also be present.

"He feels very optimistic about this future," White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said, but the country Obama has led for the last seven years doesn't always see it the same way.

Seven in 10 Americans said they see the U.S. heading in the wrong direction, according to an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll last month. That's a marked decline from just two months earlier, and an even steeper fall compared to the first year of Obama's presidency, when less than half said in July 2009 that the U.S. was heading down the wrong path.

Driving that pessimism across the country, polls show, are steep concerns about national security in the era of the Islamic State group and lingering trepidation among some about the quick pace of social change in the U.S.

On the other hand, while 2015 was a volatile year for Wall Street, Americans are more confident about the economy than they were a few years ago.

Over the past year, Obama has reached a nuclear deal with Iran, re-launched diplomatic relations with Cuba, secured a global climate pact and an Asia-Pacific trade deal and negotiated a budget deal with the Republican-led Congress. Unemployment has fallen to 5 per cent, and renewed confidence in the economy led the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates.

Obama will offer a renewed call for unfinished pieces of his agenda that already have a foothold in Congress, such as approval for his Asia-Pacific free trade pact and bipartisan efforts to overhaul the criminal justice system.

Obama is expected to keep up his appeals for broader actions to address gun violence. He'll also try to convince a public increasingly skeptical of his foreign policy stewardship that he has a handle on the volatile Middle East and is taking steps to prevent terrorism in the United States.

The president has invited a refugee from war-torn Syria to attend the speech, a symbolic counter to Republicans proposing to block Syrians seeking asylum in the U.S. But the selection is also a reminder of Obama's inability to end the bloodshed in Syria, where the nearly five-year civil war has spurred a refugee crisis and created a vacuum for terrorism.

Republicans selected South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to give the opposing party's rebuttal. In another reminder of the fast-approaching election, Haley, whose parents are immigrants from India, is seen as a potential running mate for the eventual Republican nominee.

AP writer Nancy Benac contributed to this report



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 2 juveniles charged in Tennessee wildfires that killed 14

    World News Toronto Sun
    NASHVILLE — Authorities on Wednesday charged two juveniles in an East Tennessee wildfire that killed 14 people and destroyed or damaged more than 1,700 buildings in an iconic tourism spot at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains. Source
  • Quick-thinking pig survives Tennessee wildfire by burying himself in mud

    World News Toronto Sun
    A quick-thinking pet pig survived the rampaging wildfires that laid waste to parts of Tennessee by burrowing himself in the mud. Charles -- left behind by the Holmes family when the raging blaze surrounded their home -- were thrilled to find their beloved pet alive. Source
  • Teen accused of plotting Toronto school attack on Montreal massacre anniversary

    Canada News CTV News
    A 17-year-old boy has been arrested for allegedly plotting an attack on a Toronto high school on the 27th anniversary of the massacre at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, one of the worst mass murders in Canadian history. Source
  • RCMP abandons body cameras -- for now

    Canada News CTV News
    The RCMP announced Tuesday that it is indefinitely postponing the force-wide rollout of body-worn cameras. In 2013, the RCMP launched a body-worn camera pilot project with its Contract and Aboriginal Policing division to determine the feasibility of mounting such devices on all frontline officers. Source
  • Police treatment of witnesses shows systemic racism: expert

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The actions of police in the minutes that followed the fatal shooting of an indigenous man in a low-income neighbourhood point to systemic racism, an expert witness testified Wednesday. It’s troubling that after police shot Craig McDougall, 26, in Winnipeg that his father and two other witnesses were handcuffed and kept on the ground for 40 minutes, Jonathan Rudin told an inquest into the death. Source
  • Ottawa officer demoted for three months for 'racist' Facebook post about dead Inuk artist

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    An Ottawa police officer has been demoted for three months for posting “insulting and racist” comments about the death of acclaimed Inuk artist, Annie Pootoogook. Sgt. Chris Hrnchiar, a veteran officer who works in the forensic identification unit, was demoted Wednesday to the rank of first-class constable and must take multicultural training within three months. Source
  • Muslim group denounces Edmonton LRT incident as 'hate crime' calling it 'absolutely horrifying'

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The national organization representing Canadian Muslims is calling on Edmonton police to lay hate crime charges against a man after two Muslim women were threatened with a noose on a city LRT platform. National Council of Canadian Muslims communications director, Amira Elghaway, said the incident on Nov. Source
  • Secret Santa grants dying man his last wish

    World News Toronto Sun
    Gifts from Secret Santa are often gags, not presents given from the heart. But one secret Santa south of the border can take credit for one of the heart-warmingest moments of the Christmas season, granting a dying man his last wish. Source
  • ISIS radio show sorts jihadist problems

    World News Toronto Sun
    Even terrorists have problems and death cult ISIS is here to help. The terrorist organization’s radio station has launched a new program to assist struggling killers with their personal problems. The show, called Fatwas Over the Airwaves, features a host, along with Muslim clerics answering listeners queries on lust and what is permissible under religious law. Source
  • Deadly elephant tranquilizer carfentanil found in Toronto street drugs for 1st time

    Canada News CBC News
    The highly toxic opioid carfentanil has appeared in Toronto, with police announcing Wednesday they have seized heroin laced with the drug considered to be 10,000 times more potent than morphine.'Weapons-grade opioid' carfentanil detected in Waterloo region, drug taskforce warnsCarfentanil was only publicly confirmed to be in Ontario on Tuesday. Source