Defensive State of the Union Expected

Obama will give State of Union address against backdrop of deep partisan divide

The tone and tenor of the Obama White House since Democrats suffered a crushing defeat during the November midterm elections have been anything but conciliatory and have raised doubts about whether the president can—or wants to—break through partisan gridlock before voters choose his successor next year.

The president will enter the House chamber Tuesday night for his sixth State of the Union address riding a wave of confidence driven by an improving economy and brightening public approval ratings. And he seems as defiant as ever.

Although Obama has vetoed just two bills in his six years, the White House has threatened to veto five measures from Congress this month alone—including legislation that would authorize the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, tie funding of the Department of Homeland Security to a rollback of Obama’s executive actions on immigration, and impose new economic sanctions on Iran.

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