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When a rash of reports came out saying that President Obama was going to “pivot” back to the economy in tonight’s State of the Union, it all raised eyebrows – we’ve seen this one before.  (Many times.)  It also, of course, raised hopes that perhaps the president, at the start of his new term, could seize this opportunity to focus on a credible plan for tackling our jobs and spending challenges.  As a matter of fact, Americans are “eager to hear” him do exactly that.   

With that in mind, here are four questions ahead of tonight’s speech:  

1)  JOBS. Will the president use the State of the Union as an opportunity to lay out a serious plan to turn the economy around and take the brakes off job growth?

  • In a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report full of numbers about the economy, one stood out for every American: 8%.  That’s what analysts expect the unemployment rate to hover around for the rest of the year.  It’s also what the highest level of unemployment was supposed to be under the president’s ‘stimulus.’   
  • Today, the economy remains a source of anxiety for many Americans, and the president continues to push for more of the same policies, including higher taxes and more government ‘investments.’   
  • The American people deserve better, and tonight’s speech is a prime opportunity for the president to offer bette

2) BUDGET.  Will the president use the State of the Union to lay out a serious plan to reduce long-term spending and debt? 

3) PRESIDENT’S SEQUESTER.  Will the president use the State of the Union as an opportunity to lay out a plan for smart spending cuts to replace his sequester?

  • As Bob Woodward has explained, the White House proposed the sequester and insisted it be included in the 2011 debt limit agreement.  (See page 326 of Woodward’s book to read about exactly how it happened.)
  • Tonight, just days after the White House detailed the devastating consequences of the president’s sequester, he has a chance to show the American people what he is willing to do to prevent any of this from happening.   
  • A useful guidepost for how the president might answer this question in a credible manner: Republicans have twice passed legislation to replace his sequester with common-sense cuts and reforms.

4) OBAMACARE. Will the president use the State of the Union as an opportunity to prepare  the American people for the looming consequences of ObamaCare?

  • In what’s already a tough economy, families and small businesses continue to confront the consequences of ObamaCare: higher costshigher premiumsmillions losing their plansmore tax hikes, and fewer jobs.  
  • Tonight the president has a chance to level with the American people about the consequences of his government takeover of health care, especially in terms of how it will make it harder to make ends meet.  

To help determine whether we get answers to these questions, log on tonight to GOP.gov/SOTU for our interactive response starting at 9:00 pm ET.  Once there, you’ll be able to watch and get the facts on the State of the Union in real-time, right alongside Republican lawmakers and staff.  Then stay tuned for the Republican Address to the Nation by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), immediately following the president’s remarks.