State of the Union

Liam James Doyle / NPR

Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III, seen as a rising political star with a famous last name, will deliver the Democratic response to President Trump's State of the Union. In announcing their decision, Democratic leaders in Congress called Kennedy a "relentless fighter for working Americans." Kennedy is the grandson of the late Robert Kennedy, the former U.S. attorney general and New York senator who was assassinated in 1968. He is also the great nephew of both the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and the late president John F. Kennedy.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

President Trump is delivering his State of the Union address to Congress, which will be followed by a response from the Democratic Party.

Evan Vucci / AP Images

President Obama is set to deliver his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress tonight. His speech is expected to be “non-traditional,” focusing more on his legacy as president and less on work with the legislature. Many speculate he’ll also return to his original campaign mantra of “hope,” encouraging every American that they have the ability to succeed.  Here to preview the President’s address is Dr. Jerry Shuster, University of Pittsburgh professor of presidential rhetoric and political communication. 

What’s the Right Rhetoric for the State of the Union?

Jan 20, 2015
Blatant World / Flickr

Tonight at 9 p.m., President Barack Obama will deliver the State of the Union address to Congress, the Senate and the rest of the country. But his office has already put forth many plans for the year.

Before the president gives his address, we'll get some perspective on what he'll propose, from University of Pittsburgh presidential rhetoric and political communication professor Jerry Shuster.

When Pennsylvania’s junior senator sits at his desk for the State of the Union Address tonight, he will have a specific list of items he would like President Obama to address.

The second-term senator would like to see the president focus on the economy and national security, not broadband speeds and net neutrality as he has already previewed in stops around the country this month.

“The fact is, the average working family in Pennsylvania is not getting ahead,” he said. “That’s the reality. We need a stronger economy and we change that reality.”

President Obama spoke Wednesday afternoon at US Steel’s Irvin Plant in West Mifflin, PA. The visit is part of a 4-stop tour in which he’s emphasizing efforts to help the long-term unemployed and close the gap in economic disparity. Those efforts were initially highlighted Tuesday night in the president’s state of the union address.

University of Pittsburgh Political Communications Professor Gerald Shuster talked with us about the effectiveness of the president’s messaging during the address. Especially when he put it to congress to raise the minimum wage by saying “So join the rest of the country, say yes, give America a raise.”

Local Reaction to State of the Union Mixed

Jan 29, 2014

Reaction from southwestern Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address has unsurprisingly been mixed.

Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA 18) was pleased to hear the president say that he wanted to work with Congress but was a bit concerned with his willingness to “go it alone.” The president spoke of using executive orders to make progress on pet projects as diverse as encouraging the increase of minimum wage to creating a new retirement savings option for working Americans.