Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Think Tanks Advising Obama on SOTU Speech

It's that time of year again for the annual State of the Union (SOTU) address, and as usual, think tanks are providing a variety of talking points for the President.

Here is more from the Washington Post:
Senior administration officials have been meeting with think-tank experts, administration alumni, Democratic strategists and others before the State of the Union — an outreach described by White House officials as more intensive than in the past. “After five years,” said one adviser, “it’s good to get some fresh eyes on the target.”
One of the think tanks that will likely have a large fingerprint on President Obama's talking points: Washington Center for Equitable Growth (WCEG), a new think tank focusing on income inequality that was founded by John Podesta, who was recently named as a top advisor to President Obama.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on WCEG.  Politico notes that WCEG is one of the think tanks that has compiled a list of possible unilateral executive actions that President Obama can take to bypass the gridlocked Congress. The new think tank is housed within the liberal think tank Center for American Progress (CAP).

Following is a look at some advice and analysis that think tanks are giving about this year's State of the Union address:
  • John Hudak of Brookings: Obama should encourage Congressional earmarks.
  • Amy Liu of Brookings: Don't back down on trade in the SOTU.
  • Lloyd Green of Brookings: A GOP SOTU would still be off message.
  • Thomas Mann of Brookings: Why the SOTU matters, even if it doesn't.
  • Marc Thiessen of American Enterprise Institute (AEI): In his SOTU address, President Obama will try to turn the page on the controversies of 2013 and shift to new topics.  Good luck with that.
  • Heritage Foundation's pre-SOTU Twitter chat.
  • Amy Payne of the Heritage Foundation: 7 things the President and Congress can do after SOTU.
  • Matt Lee-Ashley and Jessica Goad of CAP: Why President Obama should discuss conservation for the first time in his SOTU address.
  • Lawrence Korb of CAP: The state of our union? Dull.
  • CAP's recommendations for President Obama's energy and environmental to-do list in the SOTU.
  • Karla Walter and David Madland of CAP: Obama should use the SOTU to hold accountable federal contractors that harm workers and shortchange taxpayers.
  • CAP: Eight actions young Americans want to hear Obama discuss in his SOTU address.
  • Josh Bivens of Economic Policy Institute (EPI): What to look for in the SOTU.
  • A variety of university and think tank scholars are pushing for Obama to address the minimum wage in the SOTU. 
  • Cato Institute is live-blogging the State of the Union speech.