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Wednesday’s Headline: Obama to Focus on Economy in State of the Union

President Barack Obama will deliver his first State of the Union address Wednesday night to a nation and Congress that have become increasingly frustrated and concerned with the foundering economy and health care reform.

In his speech, scheduled for 9 p.m. Eastern time, President Obama intends to focus on the economy and will try to reassure Americans that he is trying to create more jobs, while also overhauling the nation’s health care system to make it more affordable to everyone.

“This is a leadership moment,” strategist Scott Parven told National Public Radio. “He needs to focus like a laser beam on the anxious middle class and make the connection between health care reform and the middle class.”

The latest NPR poll showed that 55 percent of Americans oppose the president’s plan to overhaul health care, showing a lack of trust in Washington and frustration with many months of Congressional quarreling.

Among other issues, President Obama will announce a 6.2 percent increase for the Department of Education. A senior White House official told CBS correspondent Peter Maer that despite the increased funding, tough choices will still have to be made about where the money is going, indicating that cuts are possible: Some K-12 programs are likely to be consolidated and others frozen entirely.

The president will also speak about regulating Wall Street, fighting a global war against terrorism, advancing clean energy technology and reforming immigration laws, according to the AP. Politico breaks down advice from several Democrats for the president.

Join us for live coverage of the State of the Union address on your PBS station, where we’ll have analysis from columnists Mark Shields and David Brooks. Here online, we’ll live stream the president’s speech and offer added coverage, including a speech analyzer and other resources related to the president’s address. You’re also invited to submit your reactions to our YouTube channel. Check here for more details on our coverage.


The Japanese auto industry and several North American factories are reeling from Tuesday’s news that Toyota will halt the sales and manufacturing of eight models, including the popular Camry and Corolla sedans, which were already subject to recalls over a problem with accelerator pedals. On Wednesday, commentators in Japan fretted that Toyota’s bad news might reflect poorly on the entire industry.

“The discrediting of Toyota could even destroy the world’s trust in Japanese manufacturing, which relied on its reputation for high quality,” said the Sankei Shimbum, a daily newspaper in Tokyo.

Here’s Toyota’s statement and a list of the cars affected.


The AIG saga continues Wednesday as various players involved with bailing out the insurance company will appear before a House panel to discuss e-mails sent by government officials advising AIG not to disclose key details of its agreement.

Among those testifying are Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner; executive vice president and general counsel for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Thomas Baxter; TARP special inspector general Neil Barofsky; and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

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