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President Obama heads to Capitol Hill for his State of the Union address tonight with some wind at his back -- and perhaps more of a spring to his step than pundits would have predicted after the November midterms, which he called a "shellacking" for the Democrats.
With his approval ratings on the upswing and a lame-duck Congressional session that turned out to be one of the most productive months of his presidency, the White House says Obama is expected to look forward in his State of the Union address tonight.
His focus will be on five key issues: innovation, education, infrastructure, tackling the national debt, and government reform.
The White House said that president is not likely to go through a "laundry list" of policy proposals tonight, but instead will be include a broader discussion about the direction he believes the nation needs to head.
The president will "spend most of his time talking about the economy, talking about the challenges that we've faced, both in the short term, in terms of doing whatever we can to help create jobs," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
He said that for the medium and long term focus, Obama will look at how the government can get the nation's "fiscal house in order."
The theme of the president's speech will be "How We Win the Future," but it's worthwhile to look back at what he outlined in last year's State of the Union, and take stock of what he did and did not achieve:
Health Care: Yes
"Here's what I ask Congress, though: Don't walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people. Let's get it done. Let's get it done."
On March 23, Obama signed the health care bill into law, calling it "remarkable and improbable." Vice President Biden had another way of looking at it – calling the bill signing "a big f---ing deal."
"With all the punditry, all of the lobbying, all the game playing that passes for governing in Washington, it's been easy at times to doubt our ability to do such a big thing, such a complicated thing, to wonder if there are limits to what we as a people can still achieve," Obama said at a signing ceremony that day at the White House.
"It's easy to succumb to the sense of cynicism about what's possible in this country. But today we are affirming that essential truth, a truth every generation is called to rediscover for itself: that we are not a nation that scales back its aspirations, we are not a nation that falls prey to doubt or mistrust."
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