Join us starting at 8:30 p.m. ET for a State of the Union live chat. It's All Politics blogger Frank James will host, with help from NPR's Elise Hu. They'll be joined by NPR political editors Shirish Date and Scott Montgomery to talk about the president's speech and the GOP response. Submit your comments and questions in advance.
Throughout the evening, we'll be getting news updates from NPR's Eyder Peralta, who is live blogging tonight.
According to excerpts released by the White House, President Obama will focus on the "unfinished task" of restoring America's middle class.
The president will say:
"It is our generation's task, then, to reignite the true engine of America's economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.
"It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.
"It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation of ours."
Obama will also say that even though he is suggesting new proposals, they will not "increase our deficit by a single dime."
"It's not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth," Obama will say.
The Associated Press has already reported that one of President Obama's big announcements will be that 34,000 U.S. troops will be back home from Afghanistan within a year. "That's about half the U.S. forces currently serving there, and marks the next phase in the administration's plans to formally finish the war by the end of 2014," the AP reports.
In his response to President Obama, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will argue that a free enterprise system without Washington interference creates a stronger middle class.
"Presidents in both parties – from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan – have known that our free enterprise economy is the source of our middle class prosperity," Rubio will say, according to excerpts released by his office. "But President Obama? He believes it's the cause of our problems."
Rubio also plans to say: "The tax increases and the deficit spending you propose will hurt middle class families. It will cost them their raises. It will cost them their benefits. It may even cost some of them their jobs. And it will hurt seniors because it does nothing to save Medicare and Social Security. So Mr. President, I don't oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors."
Organizing for Action, the non-profit set up to promote the White House's legislative agenda, just tweeted this photograph of the president preparing his State of the Union speech. The photograph shows Obama with outgoing speechwriter Jon Favreau on his left and his new speechwriter Cody Keenan on his right. This will be Keenan's first big test.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said during a press briefing last week that Keenan had taken the lead for this speech and "will be getting a higher profile in the weeks to come." "These are speeches that the President takes very seriously," Carney said. "He's a writer himself, so he engages at a very deep level on the framing of a speech, on the writing of it and the editing of it and the shaping of it."
Now, if you remember back in April of 2012, the Secret Service gave Nugent a talking to after he appeared to threaten the president's life. The Post reports that Nugent, however, has promised to behave and not bring any weapons. NBC News' Luke Russert tweeted that he saw Nugent walking into the Capitol "with jeans, camo boots, black button down and brown blazer — no tie."
Good evening and welcome to the official start of NPR.org’s live-chat coverage of President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address. (Everything you’ve seen before now has been the prequel.)
Based on what the president has said in recent days, we expect him to spend much of his time tonight discussing his proposals for boosting the economy and creating jobs as he lays out a second-term agenda that includes steps to reduce the the national debt and deficits, immigration overhaul, gun control and climate change.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will be giving the Republican response in both English and Spanish. We’ll be covering that as well and keeping an eye on the the Tea Party response by Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican.
You’ll be seeing analysis and other contributions tonight from NPR’s Scott Montgomery, Shirish Date, Elise Hu and yours truly. As always, we’d love to have your comments be part of our live chat, too.
You'll also be seeing updates from NPR's Eyder Peralta who is live-blogging everything State of the Union tonight.
Hi MV, let's get this conversation going. NPR programming starts at 9pm but we're all here to chat now.
DJFooboo, we will be hosting the live audio here on this event page, but not offering live video. Hope you'll listen along with us.
In addition to Rubio's GOP response, Sen. Rand Paul from Kentucky will deliver the Tea Party response tonight. As you might expect, he will take a less traditional route, suggesting that there is plenty of bipartisanship in Washington.
Rand will say: "It is often said that there is not enough bipartisanship up here, that is not true. In fact, there is plenty. Both parties have been guilty of spending too much, of protecting their sacred cows, of backroom deals in which everyone up here wins, but every taxpayer loses. It is time for a new bipartisan consensus. It is time Democrats admit that not every dollar spent on domestic programs is sacred. And it is time Republicans realize that military spending is not immune to waste and fraud."
Tonight has turned out to be a big news night in a way we didn't expect. Not only do we have the president's State of the union but we have the situation with the alleged cop killer out in Great Bear Lake, California.
It obviously will be a challenge for news organizations to cover both the president's speech the major breaking crime story in Southern California.
Tmace, that's a great question. I'd be surprised, though, if much of this speech hits on Mali or Syria. We know he'll talk about continued troop withdrawals but we think much of the speech will focus on domestic matters.
Just want to let y'all know we are trying to get in as many questions as possible; during high traffic times not every question will get answered but we're working to get to you!
@Not MittRomney: Rubio will give the Republican response about five minutes after the President leaves the chamber. Rand Paul is set to give the Tea Party response after Rubio is finished.
JesseJackRex, from what we're hearing the White House has tried to play down a bit the North Korea nuclear test. Not because it isn't a big deal, but in briefings today administration officials talked about how this latest test was expected. The president might mention it in passing, but it's more likely that he won't give North Korea the attention that comes with being mentioned in the SOTU.