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Colorado Lawmakers Differ On Attending State Of The Union Address

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President Barack Obama  (credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama (credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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DENVER (CBS4) – President Obama will deliver his State of the Union speech Tuesday night. While one U.S. senator from Colorado is calling for the two parties to sit together, one of the state’s congressmen says he won’t even show up.

The speech will build on a theme the president has settled on over the last month — class struggle. He will lay out what he calls a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last, and in the process, make a case for why he deserves a second term.

In a video address to campaign supporters, Obama said the focus of his State of the Union will be economic inequality and a fair shake for everyone.

He’ll hit on manufacturing, specifically insourcing, by bringing jobs back from overseas. He’ll hit on alternative sources of energy and energy independence. Also he’ll hit on education — preparing students for the jobs of the future; and middle class values — hard work and responsibility.

Unlike last year the address isn’t just his vision for 2012, but his platform for re-election.

In a taste of what’s to come this election year, Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn from Colorado Springs says he’ll sit it out.

“I’m just skeptical that since he’s now reverted into campaign mode that he’s bashing his political opponents,” Lamborn told CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd. “He’s not really offering constructive ideas, and so enough is enough.”

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is urging everyone to sit together.

“Look, just because last year was a tough political year, and it was, it doesn’t mean we don’t keep trying,” Udall said. “We’re part of a big family, the American family. The State of the Union is a serious evening. We should treat the speech seriously.”

It’s a speech that may be the most important of Obama’s presidency. He’s running with a weak economy, low approval ratings, and a mixed record on job creation. Still, he’s more popular than Congress, and if he doesn’t highlight its hyper-partisanship Tuesday night, Lamborn’s decision to boycott his speech may do it for him.

“He may or may not pay any attention. I’m doing it more for my piece of mind,” Lamborn said. “I just can’t lend my support to his failed policies.”

Lamborn says he will watch the speech on TV.

Two Coloradans will see it in person. As she did last year, First Lady Michelle Obama will invite about a dozen people to sit with her, and this year two of them are from the Denver area.

Watch the president’s State of the Union speech and the Republican response Tuesday at 7 p.m. on CBS4 and on CBS4Denver.com.

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