Tales from the Trail

Obama’s State of the Union in a word cloud

Obama uttered the words “tax” or “taxes” 34 times as he called for higher taxes on the rich, echoing a recent partisan theme of Democrats accusing Republicans in Congress of favoring tax breaks that favor the wealthy.

The Democratic president, who faces reelection in November, emphasized a fair tax code just a day after Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, his potential rival, released tax returns that showed he pays a lower effective tax rate than many top wage-earners.

“We need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of Members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes,” Obama said.

Obama, who faces reelection amid a stubbornly high unemployment rate of 8.5 percent, also said the word “jobs” 32 times.

Americans’ expectations low ahead of Obama’s State of the Union

U.S. voters are looking to President Barack Obama to talk aboutĀ jobs and the economy in hisĀ State of the Union address tonight, but doubt his ability to follow through on his proposals, two recent polls showed.

A survey done for the group Public Notice found that 62 percent of 805 likely voters said they were extremely or very interested in Obama’s speech tonight. The group describes itself as an independent non-profit focused on the economy and the role of government. Obama faces reelection in November amid a slowly improving U.S. economy.

Twenty-three percent said that jobs were the most important topic the president could talk about in his speech, while another 20 percent said the economy was the most important. Fourteen percent of respondents said government spending should be addressed, according to the poll.

Washington Extra – Say cheese

Civility isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and last night it meant watching lawmakers smile with their teeth but not their eyes.

The day after the State of the Union it has become clear that the forced Kumbaya moment is being shrugged off for a return to the comfort of political sniping. But no one expected that rearranging the deck chairs would lead to a lasting group hug. OBAMA/

Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — the state President Barack Obama chose for his day-after trip to the heartland — said when Obama mentions investment he means “government spending and government control. And that is the definite wrong direction.”

Washington Extra – Circle that date

Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States accepts your invitation.

The pomp and circumstance that surrounds the president’s annual State of the Union address to Congress has begun with the delivery of the invitation from House Speaker John Boehner to President Barack Obama at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. (It’s still on paper, not an Evite). OBAMA/

“A new Congress provides us a renewed opportunity to find common ground and address the priorities of the American people,” Boehner said in the invitation for Obama to address a Joint Session of Congress on January 25.

“Recent events have reminded us of the imperfect nature of our representative democracy, but also how much we cherish the ideal that our government exists to serve the people,” he wrote.