Obama acknowledges expectations low for action

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest on President Barack Obama's last State of the Union address. All times EST:

8:55 p.m.

The White House has released a transcript of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on the Medium website a little before he begins speaking.

He acknowledges that expectations for congressional action on his agenda in this election season are low.

But he's still identifying some areas where there's the potential for Democrats and Republicans to work together.

He singled out criminal justice reform and helping people who are battling prescription drug abuse.

Says Obama, "We just might surprise the cynics again."

LIVE: Obama delivers final State of the Union address


8:50 p.m.

Chief Justice John Roberts and President Barack Obama's two Supreme Court choices — Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — are among the six justices attending Obama's State of the Union speech.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy also are there. Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas aren't attending.

Also on hand are participants in high-profile Supreme Court cases. Jim Obergefell, lead plaintiff in last term's same-sex marriage case, is a guest of Michelle Obama.

Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was attending the speech on the invitation of Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. She refused to license same-sex marriages, becoming one of the court ruling's most prominent opponents.

Representatives of the Little Sisters of the Poor, guests of Speaker Paul Ryan, are challenging the birth-control mandate in Obama's health care law.


8:30 p.m.

The White House says Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has been selected as the "designated survivor" who will skip President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

The vice president and the president's Cabinet traditionally attend the president's speech, along with congressional leaders who are in the presidential line of succession. One Cabinet member is selected each year to not attend the speech in case a catastrophic event incapacitates the president and other attendees.

The White House doesn't disclose where the designated survivor is located during the address.


7 p.m.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says the nation should resist the temptation to "follow the siren call of the angriest voices" during anxious times.

The daughter of Indian immigrants is delivering the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

The GOP has released excerpts of Haley's response in which she criticizes the Democratic president's record on health care and national security. But more telling is her veiled swipe at those in the GOP, such as presidential candidate Donald Trump, who have called for deporting the 11 million immigrants living here illegally and barring Muslims from entering the United States.

Haley calls herself a "proud daughter of Indian immigrants" and says individuals willing to work hard and follow the law shouldn't feel unwelcome.


6:30 p.m.

President Barack Obama aims to use his State of the Union address to sound a call for fixing the nation's broken politics.

The president says in excerpts released early that the nation can achieve the secure and prosperous future it wants — "but it will only happen if we work together" and "fix our politics."

He adds that the United States needs to have "rational, constructive debates."

Obama will be delivering his last State of the Union speech as the country's focus increasingly shifts toward the 2016 presidential race, where the political debate has been particularly sharp thus far.

Obama says "a better politics" doesn't mean agreeing on everything, but it does require basic bonds of trust between citizens.


6 p.m.

President Barack Obama says he'll use his last State of the Union address to make sure Americans understand he plans to "leave it all on the field."

Obama is previewing his speech in a live video appearance on Facebook. He's speaking from his desk in the Oval Office as he finalizes the text of the speech.

Obama says he wants Americans to understand the proposals he thinks are necessary to ensure opportunity and security for the U.S. He says it's important at a time when major changes are taking place around the world.

Obama is calling on all Americans to get involved and pay attention. He says the U.S. has big choices ahead. But the president says if the U.S. makes the right choices, he's confident there's a bright future ahead.


6 p.m.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus were laying claim to aisle seats in the House chamber hours before President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address.

Many members of the 46-member caucus were seen grabbing spots hours early near the center aisle used by the president, Cabinet members and other dignitaries to enter and depart the chamber. Caucus chairman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina says members consider it "an extraordinary honor to be eyewitness" to Obama's seventh and last State of the Union speech.

Texas Rep. Al Green says he was the first lawmaker to arrive in the chamber, entering at 6:30 a.m. to grab a choice piece of aisle real estate.

He says he "would have spent the night if necessary."

Aisle seating brings with it not only a chance for a handshake, an autograph and a quick conversation, but also TV exposure for an address that's viewed by millions nationwide.


5:30 p.m.

The mystery over who invited Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who spent five days in jail for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, to the State of the Union address has been solved.

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio says his "staff heard from the Family Research Council that Ms. Davis and her family hoped to attend the State of the Union address and so I offered a ticket."

Every lawmaker gets one guest ticket to the president's annual speech, though congressional leaders get extras.

First lady Michelle Obama invited Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the case in which the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage across the nation.

After the Supreme Court's decision, Davis cited "God's authority" and refused to issue marriage licenses, despite a series of federal court orders.


5 p.m.

President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address is getting some buzz on Facebook.

The social networking site says 15 million people discussed Obama and his address in the week leading up to the speech. They liked, posted, shared or commented 54 million times as of Tuesday morning.

Facebook says guns were the most talked-about topic in relation to Obama's speech. Islam and Muslims took second place, followed by the Islamic State group. Criminal justice and terrorism were the fourth and fifth most discussed topics on Facebook.


4:30 p.m.

Twitter is using the occasion of President Barack Obama's last State of the Union address to tote up some of his most-tweeted lines from previous addresses.

His greatest hits include 2009's "We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before."

His 2011 highlight was "Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love."

From 2014, there was, "It's time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a 'Mad Men' episode."

And he scored in 2015 with: "I have no more campaigns to run. I know because I've won both of them."

The Twitter team calculated most popular lines by looking at both tweets-per-minute and most retweeted lines.

Last year, there were 2.6 million tweets sent about the State of the Union, including 52,000 tweets-per-minute for the president's most popular line.

The "Mad Men" line in 2014 generated 33,000 tweets-per-minute.












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