State of the Union Tuesday; Will Partisan Divide Plague 2014?

[ 0 ] January 27, 2014 |

During State of the Union 2014, Obama will stay positive about the state of the nation’s economy, outline his political priorities for 2014 – an election year – and say he plans to work in bipartisan way with Congress; CBS News’ Bob Schieffer says the partisan divide ‘is deeper than ever’

President Obama will give his 6th annual State of the Union address Tuesday, and is expected to focus on the economy and boosting the soruinternalmiddle class.

In a message that aims to keep a positive, encouraging note about the state of the nation’s economy, Obama will also outline his political priorities for 2014 – an election year – which include: reviving proposals from the president’s American Jobs Act – manufacturing issues, college affordability measures, and a number of women’s issues involving “paycheck fairness” and more liberal workplace-leave policies, specifically; immigration reform; health care reform (known commonly as ‘Obamacare); education; and the environment, among other issues.

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“It will be an optimistic speech,” Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer wrote in an email to supporters over the weekend. “Thanks to the grit and determination of citizens like you, America has a hard-earned right to that optimism. …In this year of action, the President will seek out as many opportunities as possible to work with Congress in a bipartisan way. But when American jobs and livelihoods depend on getting something done, he will not wait for Congress.”

Bitter partisanship has plagued Congress for the past few years, resulting in public approval ratings of this institution being at an all-time low and very little coming out of Capital Hill so far as substantive reforms.

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“How it has evolved, sadly, is it’s become much more partisan, and much more bitter,” veteran broadcast journalist Bob Schieffer told genConnect. “The partisan divide is deeper than it’s ever been.”

Watch as Schieffer talks more about how Washington and politics has changed in the past few decades, and whether he thinks we can turn things around for the better:

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Whereas Republicans and Democrats used to socialize together and leave partisan bickering on the Senate and House floors, now, that partisanship now seems to seep into every aspect of lawmakers’ professional lives.

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CBS News’ Bob Schieffer

“We now have a conversation among strangers – they just don’t know each other anymore,” Scheiffer said. Add the fact, Schieffer said, that it costs so much money to run for Congress these days, and the consistent negotiations with interest groups to get elected and re-elected, that their priorities that are not on making friends with the other side. So will this hyper-partisanship change anytime soon?

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“The good thing about America is, when our back is to the wall, we always find a way,” Scheiffer said. “But I don’t know a way out of this right now.”

Obamas State of the Union address will begin at 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday night, and will air on all major news networks. The White House will live stream an enhanced version of the speech featuring graphics, data and stats that highlight the issues the President will lay out for the upcoming year. You can also watch that broadcast on FacebookYouTube and our Google+ page. 

Immediately following the address, the White House will stream a live “Open for Questions” event from the White House on WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU. You’ll have the chance to ask your questions and hear from a panel of senior White House advisors. You can post questions now, and during the speech on Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook using the hashtag #SOTUChat. The White House will also answer questions from an in-person audience of White House Social participants. Click here to find out more about the “Open for Questions” session. 

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About Bob Schieffer: Bob Schieffer is broadcast journalism's most experienced Washington reporter. He is the network's chief Washington correspondent and also serves as anchor and moderator of "Face The Nation", CBS News' Sunday public affairs broadcast. Schieffer served [...]
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