What to expect from Obama’s final State of the Union address

President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, about steps his administration is taking to reduce gun violence. Also on stage are stakeholders, and individuals whose lives have been impacted by the gun violence. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – President Obama promises his last State of the Union will be unorthodox.

“The last State of the Union is all about legacy,” said Dr. Jeremy Mayer, policy, government and international affairs professor at George Mason University. “I expect this State of the Union to look back at where President has taken the nation and to look forward with urgency. There’s just a few things the man can do between now and November.”

Mayer also expects the President will defend his executive action on guns and new steps taken to fight ISIS. He is also expected to speak broadly, rather than focusing on many specific pieces of legislation.

“It’s about what are the last few things you can do in your presidency that will make a difference, and how can you burnish your legacy so that historians will remember well,” Mayer said.

The President will likely review this year’s victory for same-sex marriage, an increase in jobs and possibly the nuclear deal struck with Iran.

Not to mention, one of the seats next to First Lady Michelle Obama will be left open to symbolically honor victims of gun violence.

However, there is no guarantee what the President discusses will turn into actual policy, explains Bob Lehrman, public communication professor at American University.

“There are scholars that have researched, and they’ll say ‘Oh he gets about 40 percent of what he asked for,’ but remember: he’s not going to ask exclusively for things he can’t get through–because then everybody thinks he’s a loser,” Lehrman said.


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