And we turn now to the big political news of the day. In a matter of hours President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress, the first of his second term. Tens of millions of Americans will be watching as the president lays out his agenda and picks up where he left off in his inaugural address last month. He's expected to focus on job creation and talk about how leveling the playing field to give everyone a fair shot will help the economy grow.
The U.S. will bring home 34,000 troops from Afghanistan by this time next year. President Obama is expected to announce the news tonight in his State of the Union address. That will cut the force in half and set the stage for the pullout of most of the remaining U.S. troops by the end of 2014. The drawdown from Afghanistan is just one of several developments today on Capitol Hill that will have a big impact on the Pentagon.
Something that President Obama is not likely to dwell on tonight is the feeble state of campaign finance laws. It was three years ago that he used the State of the Union to challenge the Supreme Court on its Citizens United decision, which encouraged more corporate money in politics. This year, though, he has his own tax-exempt social welfare group backed with corporate contributions to help advance his agenda. NPR's Peter Overby reports.
President Obama began last year's State of the Union address by recognizing recently returned Iraq War veterans, adding: "At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known." Expect more historical references in Obama's Tuesday night address to a joint session of Congress.
Sometimes the best way to advance an argument is by looking back.
President Obama's second inaugural address was filled with historical allusions. His State of the Union address on Tuesday, which will lay out a long list of agenda items for the year and his second term, is likely to employ fewer references to the past.
The late civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who broke racial barriers in 1955 when she would not move to the back of a segregated bus in Montgomery, Ala., will be posthumously part of another barrier-breaking moment on Feb. 27.
The office of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced Tuesday that a statue of Parks will be dedicated that day in the National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol.
Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 5:33 pm
A U.S. Coast Guard hearing opens Tuesday to investigate the October sinking of the replica ship HMS Bounty off Cape Hatteras and the deaths of her captain and a crew member as the vessel fought unsuccessfully to outmaneuver Hurricane Sandy.
At issue in the hearings are the actions of the ship's captain, Robin Walbridge, who chose to head out to sea despite the approach of Sandy, one of the largest storms in decades to hit the U.S. East Coast.