President Obama used his weekly radio address Saturday to give Americans an idea about who his guests will be when he delivers the 2015 State of the Union address in front of Congress Tuesday night. With pundits expecting Obama to focus on immigration, education and the economic resurgence, the president used Saturday’s remarks to highlight stories that prove the U.S. has rebounded from a rough recession.
Obama said Saturday that he makes time each night to read tens of the thousands of letters and email messages sent to the White House. He cited Carolyn Reed, a Colorado small business owner who runs a sandwich shop with her husband thanks to a loan from the Small Business Administration. Obama then mentioned Victor Fugate, who earned a college degree after a period of unemployment.
“Victor said he and his wife were able to afford their student loans because our country offered millions of Americans the chance to cap their monthly payments as a percentage of their income -- and, because of the Affordable Care Act, they now have the security and peace of mind of affordable health insurance,” the president said.
“While serving in Afghanistan, Jason Gibson was gravely wounded -- he lost both his legs,” Obama continued. “When I first met him in the hospital, he was just beginning his long, difficult road to recovery. But last year. Sergeant Gibson wrote to tell me that with the help of our extraordinary doctors and nurses, he’s making extraordinary progress. He just moved into a new home, and he and his wife just had a baby girl.”
Obama reminded listeners that “2014 was the fastest year for job growth since the 1990s,” while unemployment sunk to levels last seen in 1984. The president prepares for his speech after his approval rating rose to 46 percent, the same amount of popularity he experienced when he delivered the 2014 State of the Union. Yet being so close to 50 percent is another reminder of how deeply divided the electorate Obama represents has become: Most Democrats say his policies have helped the nation while most Republicans say they have hurt it.