NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – For President Obama’s last state of the Union, University of New Haven professor Susan Campbell thinks it will be kind of a victory lap. She thinks he will highlight his wins, tweak congress for its opposition, and make things sound really good and optimistic as we head into the presidential election.
President Obama will walk into the packed House of Representatives one more time for his final State of the Union. The question is, what’s on his agenda?
“A lot of the proposals brought up int he State of the Union are wish lists,” explains University of New Haven Journalism Professor Susan Campbell. “Then sometimes there’s legislation to back it up and sometimes there isn’t.”
Last year, the President proposed making paid leave available to everyone. Instead, that issue was left to the individual states. He also proposed making two years of community college free to everyone. That went nowhere on the national level. Obama asked for congressional authorization to use force against the so-called Islamic State in Syria. He didn’t get that. He also asked for what’s called fast track trade authority. Despite opposition led by New Haven Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, he did get that.
As for this year, the White House did release a video in which the President is working in the Oval Office and expressing his optimism about the next 12 months.
“You know, he comes out without his suit coat and he says, ‘I’m writing my State of the Union address,’ and okay, sure you are,” said Professor Campbell. “He talked about being optimistic. I think that’s probably going to be the theme he’s going to stick with.”
Optimistic that he can still get things done in the face of a hostile congress. He’s already survived many attempts to repeal Obamacare, and just issued an executive order tightening gun laws. Part of his message might be…thumbing his nose at Congress.
“That would be interesting to me,” Campbell said. “That would wake up some of the people who don’t normally watch that speech.”
However, Obama’s biggest goal might be to make sure it’s a democrat giving this speech next year.
“Bill Clinton very particularly pushed Al Gore in his last State of the Union address,” Campbell remembered. “I don’t know that Obama will do that.”
Connecticut’s own Governor Dannel Malloy will be in the presidential box, Professor Campbell did not think the President would mention him by name. Malloy told us that the White House invited him to be there because Connecticut is already doing many of the things President Obama wants all the states to do.