Most Read: Politics

Read In

Now Viewing: People from around the country looking at Post Politics section

See what's being read across the country ›
In The Loop
Posted at 02:30 PM ET, 01/13/2012

Obama’s State of the Union: A work in progress

The White House team is hard at work on President Obama’s Jan. 24
President Obama in the Oval Office in July with Vice President Biden and top policy aides, including Nancy-Ann DeParle and, to her left, Bruce Reed. (Pete Souza - Official White House photo)
State of the Union Address, departing chief of staff Bill Daley’s last and, depending on the November vote count, quite possibly Obama’s last.

We’re hearing Bruce Reed, Vice President Biden’s chief of staff and domestic policy chief in the Clinton White House, is point person on the effort.

Reed is coordinating input from various top White House folks, including National Economic Council chief Gene Sperling, deputy chief of staff Nancy-Ann DeParle and Sarah Bianchi, Biden’s economic policy adviser.

These speeches are rarely memorable for what’s said, save for perhaps, in recent times, Bill Clinton’s 1996 SOTU speech that “the era of big government is over.” (And he reportedly was still writing his first speech in the limo on his way up to the Hill.)

What’s more often recalled, despite all the hard policy work by the White House, is who’s in the gallery, outbursts such as “you lie,” or things like Obama’s slap at the Supreme Court.

There always a foreign policy component — Obama might want to mention that war in Iraq is over, for example — but, since most of the country isn’t focusing on foreign affairs, it’s hard to imagine he’ll stray for long from the themes of jobs and the economy.

Unclear whether he’s going to go big — with some variant of last year’s “Win the Future” theme or some bold new proposals — or to go small, along the lines of Clinton’s excellent school uniforms proposal or some focused program for home mortgage relief and the like.

By  |  02:30 PM ET, 01/13/2012

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company