State of the Union | KNKX

State of the Union

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Annette Elizabeth Allen / NPR

Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the Georgia governor's race in November, is delivering the Democrats' response to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address. Reporters across the NPR newsroom are annotating her remarks, adding context and analysis.

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Meg Kelly / NPR

President Trump is delivering a State of the Union address after a delay due to the government shutdown. Watch his speech live, followed by a Democratic response delivered by former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

U.S. Capitol
Liam James Doyle / NPR

President Trump is delivering his State of the Union address, which the White House says will outline a "policy agenda both parties can rally behind."

Yet the speech follows the longest shutdown in U.S. history, and the deadline to avoid another one is in less than two weeks. NPR reporters covering the White House, Congress, immigration, national security and more are annotating his remarks live, adding context and analysis.

Will James / KNKX

A local critic of the Trump administration’s immigration policies is going to be in the audience at the president’s first State of the Union address. 

Maru Mora Villalpando, a Bellingham-based activist who is facing deportation, is attending Tuesday's speech as a guest of U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state. 

Updated at 7:16 p.m. ET

President Trump is planning a bipartisan pitch to Congress with his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, but he will have his work cut out for him with a public that is more divided than ever.

"Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family," Trump will say, according to excerpts of the speech released by the White House.

Mandel Ngan / AP Photo, Pool

Refusing to bend to the new Republican Congress, President Barack Obama unveiled Tuesday night an ambitious State of the Union agenda steeped in Democratic priorities, including tax increases on the wealthy, education and child care help for the middle class and a torrent of veto threats for the GOP's own plans.

President Obama's second inaugural address was widely perceived as a throwing down of the gauntlet in how it framed his progressive faith in government and challenged his Republican political opponents in any number of ways.

Given that, expect to see more glove-throwing Tuesday as the president delivers the first State of the Union speech of his second term.

As the president delivered the final State of the Union address of his term before a looming re-election battle, he looked out at a sea of angry and skeptical Republicans who had fought him on budgets, government shutdowns, and whether or not to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

And what did President Bill Clinton do in 1996?

He delivered his "the era of big government is over" speech, which The Washington Post summed up this way: "Clinton Embraced GOP Themes in Setting Agenda."

Given the nonstop, stereo-rock news cycle, the warp speed tempo of geopolitics and the constant to-and-fro between the media and the president, has the State of the Union address become obsolete?

Traditionally, the speech — an annual where-we-stand lecture delivered by the president to a joint session of Congress — has for decades been an opportunity for the professor in chief to issue a national report card and put current events in calm, codifiable context.

Tonight, President Obama is set to deliver the final state of the union address of his first term. Morning Edition's Renee Montagne spoke to White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe for a preview of the president's speech.

Jonathan Bernstein blogs at A Plain Blog About Politics.

Even with the major distraction of a Republican presidential primary, tonight's State of the Union speech will guaranteed to, however briefly, capture the undivided attention of all political junkies. They're not wrong: The annual tradition does matter. And yet the conventional wisdom about the importance of the speech tends to be almost exactly backwards.

NPR.org

In President Obama’s State of the Union speech, he got the biggest laugh of the night when – to illustrate the need to simplify government – he made a crack about salmon management.

"The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they're in saltwater ... I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked."

See it here, along with a shot of Commerce Secretary (and former Washington Governor) Gary Locke trying to be a good sport.