U.S. Markets closed

THE RESET: Obama on deck for 2nd big speech in row

Tom Raum, Associated Press

President Barack Obama waves as he walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, following his arrival on Marine One helicopter from the House Democratic Issues Conference in Lansdowne, Va. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Re-elected presidents and their speechwriters often have a verbal overload problem at the outset of second terms: They must produce a State of the Union address just weeks after a second inaugural address.

It's hard to be lofty, eloquent and soaring twice in a row.

After he delivers his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Barack Obama will also face logistical problems not usually confronted by re-elected presidents.

While inaugurals tend to be inspirational, aspirational but somewhat vague, a president's diagnosis of the nation's health usually packages a sweeping catalogue of goals with a laundry list of proposed new and recycled legislation — to be fleshed out in the annual budget he sends to Congress a week or two later.

This year the schedule was turned topsy-turvy by Obama's postponing his budget submission to sometime in March — putting it well after a March 1 deadline for deep mandatory government spending cuts. If those "sequester" cuts occur on schedule, they will have a direct bearing on the president's budget.

"I want to keep my remarks short because I just made a pretty long speech a couple of weeks ago, and I'm about to make another next week, and I don't want you guys tired of me," Obama joked at a House Democratic retreat Thursday before answering questions behind closed doors.

First he offered a short preview of next week's speech: job creation, education, clean energy and, "yes, deficits and taxes and sequesters and potential government shutdowns and debt ceiling — we'll talk about that stuff."

Obama has proposed a small package of spending cuts and tax increases to delay the March 1 sequester cuts. So far, Republicans have rejected the plan, even though House Speaker John Boehner likens the threatened cuts to "taking a meat ax to our government."

Opposition parties often call presidential budgets "dead on arrival." This year, Republicans suggest it's ailing even before birth.


Follow Tom Raum on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/tomraum