President Obama begins his seventh year in office Tuesday facing a Congress where both the House and Senate are in the hands of the opposition party. He shares this in common with every other president fortunate enough to even have a seventh year in office since the 1950s.
Dwight Eisenhower in 1959, Ronald Reagan in 1987, Bill Clinton in 1999 and George W. Bush in 2007 all climbed the rostrum for this late-in-the-game challenge looking out at majorities of the other party in both chambers.
Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 12:30 pm
Presidents often characterize the state of the union as "strong." Last year, in fact, President Obama remarked: "It is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong."
It seems whatever the crisis du jour is, the State of the Union address is a chance for the president to sneak in some optimism. In 2012, as the economy limped back, Obama still found occasion for the s-word: "The state of our union is getting stronger. And we've come too far to turn back now."
The White House says it could consider congressional action against Iran later in the year, but emphasized it wants more time to see if negotiations over the Islamic republic's nuclear program can work.
"If Congress wants to act later in the year, we could consider that, but at the moment they ought to give us the space to let these negotiations work," Denis McDonough, White House chief of staff, tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.
In so many ways, Jan. 20, 2009, was a frightful day to be taking the oath of office.
The U.S. economy was in free fall as Barack Obama rose to deliver his inaugural address. "We are in the midst of crisis," he said. "Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered."
Exactly six years later, Obama is returning to Capitol Hill to deliver a State of the Union address at 9 p.m. EST. He is expected to highlight the economic progress that has been made since that frigid Day One — and call for more changes.