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4 things to watch in Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address

President Biden
President Biden / Twitter
President Biden

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN

President Joe Biden is set to deliver his first State of the Union address at the Capitol on Tuesday evening, a chance for him to lay out his domestic agenda and speak to the world during an international crisis in Europe.

During his speech, scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET, the President is expected to focus heavily on the conflict in Ukraine and acknowledge the economic challenges Americans have continued to face as a result of rising inflation, global supply-chain issues and higher prices at the gas pump.

But as the nation heads toward the midterm elections this November, Biden will also surely acknowledge his political wins since taking office and chart a path toward a “new normal” amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Heading into the major address, the latest CNN Poll of Polls for Biden’s average approval rating stood at 40% approve to 54% disapprove — indicating that little had changed from his numbers since earlier in February. And according to a recent CNN poll conducted by SSRS, just 42% of respondents said they trusted the President at least moderately to make the right decisions regarding the situation in Ukraine.

Here’s what to watch for during Biden’s State of the Union address:

A defense of democracy in Ukraine

White House officials and allies have said the war in Ukraine will become a major focus for Biden’s remarks, a pivot that’s taken place as Russia invaded the eastern European nation.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged on Monday that the conflict will play an outsized role in the President’s speech, saying during the briefing that “there’s no question that this speech is a little different than it would have been just a few months ago.”

Psaki said Biden is expected to lay out the efforts he has taken on “to rally the world to stand up for democracy and against Russian aggression.”

Biden, who has long asserted that the battle between autocracies and democracies would be the challenge of his lifetime, is expected to discuss the US’ importance as a global leader and the efforts he’s made to mitigate the impacts of the war in Ukraine on Americans, like rising gas prices.

He will also talk about the steps the US has taken to target Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle for Russia’s acts of war against Ukraine. “And he will talk about the steps he’s taken to mitigate the impact of President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, on the global economy and the American people,” Psaki added.

Steps to bolster the economy

Biden will talk about inflation during his address, the White House says, outlining a new plan to lower costs for American families. And while he’ll tout economic gains over the past year, the President is expected to underscore that there is “more work” to do toward lowering costs, according to officials — an acknowledgment that despite a strong recovery, many Americans are still pessimistic about the economy.

The White House says the President will specifically lay out a four-point plan to lower costs for American families and continue on the US’ economic recovery amid the pandemic: making more goods in America, reducing everyday expenses, promoting fair competition and eliminating barriers to “good-paying jobs” for American workers.

Along with new efforts being announced, Biden will talk about how his administration’s work aided in the country’s economic recovery.

He is expected to call on Congress to act on aspects of his signature social spending legislation, Build Back Better, which has stalled in Congress since Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced he’d oppose the bill.

But a senior administration official previewing Tuesday’s remarks wouldn’t say if Biden would call explicitly for passage of Build Back Better by name, just one month after Manchin told reporters the legislation was “dead.”

A ‘new normal’

For the first time since taking office, Biden will deliver a joint address to Congress in a full House chamber where masks are optional — a major change from his speech last year, which featured a masked audience with extremely limited, socially distanced seating.

The symbolism of the night comes amid changes to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on masking and the White House’s work to develop a strategy for the next phase of the pandemic.

Biden is expected to address the evolution of the pandemic and America’s response to it during the speech. His comments come ahead of the release of a new Covid strategy document.

Led by Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients, White House officials have spent weeks putting together a new document outlining the administration’s strategy to tackle the next phase of the pandemic, officials said. It’s expected to address how the nation can mitigate the impacts of Covid while reestablishing a sense of normalcy in the country.

Political victory laps

Democrats face an uphill battle to maintain control of the House when they head into the midterm elections this fall. And it’s clear they hope the President can deliver a message to celebrate his and his party’s wins that gets through to voters and boosts his poll numbers.

Biden, who started the second year of his term with one of the lowest approval ratings of a modern-day president, has acknowledged that his administration has not adequately touted its political victories.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain told House Democrats in mid-February that he was hoping the address would boost Biden’s polling, in part by demonstrating leadership on national security and by showing empathy for Americans frustrated with Covid-19 and inflation. The recent historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court was also expected to be a boost.

But some Democrats, like Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, have warned that the President’s domestic agenda and any accomplishments he will outline during the address have effectively “been eclipsed by Ukraine.”

How to watch

CNN’s coverage of the State of the Union address and Republican response will stream live, without requiring a cable login, on CNN.com‘s homepage and across mobile devices via CNN’s apps for iOS and Android on Tuesday, 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET. It can also be viewed on CNNgo (at CNN.com/go on your desktop, smartphone and iPad, and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, Chromecast and Roku).

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™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Jennifer Agiesta, Ariel Edwards-Levy and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.

CNN Newsource

Comments

52 Comments

      1. First, There are no Trumpite “filth”. Just America first supporters. Second, there was no treason committed other than by Biden himself. Third, NO ONE WILL BE WATCHING. Finally, there is no punishment to come. Standing up to Tyranny and Marxism and standing up FOR freedom isn’t illegal! You may no like it but that’s your problem.

        1. Fourth, you are poorly informed ignorant Pup. Trump is and will be the worst human to ever be president. If he was president his State of the Union address would be used to pull US out of NATO.

          1. Senile Joe is now the worst President after Obama and Jimmy Carter. Trump’s SOTU would say we are strong not a trainwreck. 94% of voters say that if Trump were still President Putin would not have invaded the Ukraine. You are the poor poorly informed nitwit.

      2. Nope nitwit. Good laugh. Only idiots like you Bidenite filth will be watching. How about senile Joe’s low poll ratings? Evading? No spin? So most Americans will not be watching him read off his teleprompter and gaffing.

      3. Punishment? D.a.m.n. charliED.U.M.B, YOU REALLY HAVE S.H.I.T FOR BRAINS!!! “Can’t touch this, or that, or US! CHICKEN C.H.I.T chuck! biD.U.M.B will f.k. up reading within the first 5 minutes and S.H.I.T himself shortly after! And… he’ll mention PUDDIN’ instead of PUTIN sometime during his READING.

          1. This from a coward who won’t come to see me at the Vista Del Sol apartments. What about it Pink Panther?

          2. I invited you to the Ft Bliss Rod & Gun Club this weekend nitwit. You failed to show. You are the coward. One big CHICKEN!!!!

  1. Marxism will never work or be popular in the US. Why can’t Biden understand this? AOC and Bernie have worn out their welcome, the little they had.

        1. I was going to ay a drinking game while watching. Take a drink every time Biden lies. But I realized I don’t have that much booze in my house plus I don’t want to end up with alcoh.ol poisoning.

    1. Bnp…sure go ahead and lie your a** off. Look up the numbers before you put your foot in your big mouth! No matter how you cherry pick poll numbers, Trump was a disaster for America and most Democratic nations.

      1. Your own leftist ABC and WaPo said senile Joe was at 37%. So you saying ABC and the WaPo lied? Get off your fat Mexicant a** and look it up. Trump will be your President in 2024 nitwit.

          1. You referring to senile Joe nitwit? His dementia is getting worse not better. You’re the 5 year old child that can’t debate without whining.

  2. Trump’s poll numbers were no better his first year, nimrods. 39% approval at end of 2017. And…he inherited a strong economy with 11 million additional employed and +5.5 rise in median household income…etc. Trump was only for rich corporations. What a Clown!!

    1. Under senile Joe we have super high inflation (7%), high grocery costs, high gasoline costs. A mess on the border and illegal immigration. A botched Afghanistan withdrawal with 13 U.S. soldiers killed, 7 innocent children killed. Now Putin invading the Ukraine. Did I forget anything? a real trainwreck.

      1. Under Trump America was under attack by White Supremacist, mosques and synagogues bombed, hate crimes against minorities rose 300 percent and Kens and Karen went wild. Thanks to your bigoted, racist, bully president. Thank God he was fired by the American people. GO BIDEN!!

        1. Senile Joe will be fired November 2024 if he is still around. Most likely impeached after the 2022 election. Everything was good to go under Trump nitwit. You blame Trump for your life failures and being dirt poor and on welfare.

          1. Yeah, good to go for White Supremacists, racists and traitors who invaded the Capitol after Der Frehuer asked him too. So good he was asked to go back to live in his Mar a Lago hole.

          2. Yeah, who says you’ll be around in 24. Old Racist, ignorant goats don’t last that long.

        2. “Fired by the American people”…. Ya right.. At least 25% of those that “fired” him were DECEASED, Imaginary people, or illegal stuffed box votes!

  3. Your goofy a**es should not watch the SOTU because unlike the former guy, he won’t be pulling US out of NATO or praising Tyrant Putin. He will be leading the entire world to condemn Russian agression. Will not be praising Putin and Kim Jong Ill as smart and geniuses!

  4. Yeah, I know. You rather watch Trump on Newsmax lying his fat a** off. Or MTG and Gosar dance with White Supremacists and Praise Putin. Go ahead. Enjoy yourself, Dognuts.

      1. You know you wait for his every word with Bated breath. All Republicans do. Afraid to do or say anything that will make their Master angry. MORONS, YOU HAVE MORONS ON YOUR TEAM.

  5. White Supremacists, neerdowells, racists, Hillbillies and Trumpites NOT welcome at the Biden SOTU. Watch the Re-runs on Fox of Trump bending over for Putin every time he met him. Disgraceful Traitor!

      1. Yeah, your bogus president was congratulated by Russia the morning after he won. Who are you kidding?? Yourself? Republicans who thought he could still win a second term saved his lying a** from being removed from the White House. But the American people fired him anyway. Good Riddance!!

  6. Ux2ydrna…. RANTING B.I.T.C.H.. ANOTHER CHUCHO or CHUCHA. I don’t know the f.k.ing language, nor do I care to. Either way, another M.E.X.I.MUTT… Or the same M.E.X.I.C.U.N.T like chico alberto with a love for bi.D.U.M.B PUDDIN’… Eat it up. It’ll make you “smart” just like your savior. S.tupid, M.oronic, A.nd, R.eT.arded!!!

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