SOTU: Obama Courts the Middle

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 24: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill January 24, 2012 in Washington, DC. The president made a populist pitch to voters for economic fairness, saying the federal government should more do to balance the benefits of a capitalist society. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 24: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill January 24, 2012 in Washington, DC. The president made a populist pitch to voters for economic fairness, saying the federal government should more do to balance the benefits of a capitalist society. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

President Obama’s third State of the Union speech was accurately dubbed as his opening salvo on the re-election campaign trail. The speech was not only the official beginning of his campaign, but also showed his future Republican opponent that he intends to battle hard for the political middle of this country.

While the State of the Union speech gave diehard Democrats and Progressives a few issues to applaud, most of the speech was aimed directly at the middle 30% of the country that will decide if President Obama gets to do four more SOTU speeches.

The headline issues from the speech include President Obama returning to the theme of raising taxes on millionaires and keeping them the same for anyone making less than $250,000 a year.

That issue is likely to go nowhere in Congress as an actual tax policy, but frankly, I believe President Obama would prefer it that way. In the event that it goes nowhere, Obama’s eventual Republican opponent would be forced to defend an extremely unpopular Congress and their decision to let millionaires pay less than 30% in taxes.

More From CBSNews.com: State of the Union: 10 highlights from Obama’s speech

The actual logic of the proposed tax policy really doesn’t matter on this one. All that matters is how easy it is to make the case to most of America and how difficult it is to argue against the policy in a short amount of time.

Remember, with most Americans, politicians have less than one minute to make a real case for or against something. That’s why this issue is such an advantage for Obama.

Another headline issue from the speech was the various challenges issued to Congress to pass legislation that would address keeping jobs in America.

This is another great example of a policy that sounds great in a stump speech but is incredibly hard to argue against effectively in less than 60 seconds.

RELATED VIDEO: Colorado Leaders React To Obama State Of The Union Speech

Certainly as policy, there are a multitude of issues to argue with all of the corporate policies that President Obama discussed. But those arguments are very difficult to make on the campaign trail. And again, Obama’s GOP opponent will be forced to defend any inaction from Congress.

There are forty weeks between now and the end of the 2012 campaign. It will be a long and grueling race for Obama and whoever finally becomes his opponent. By November, this State of the Union Speech will be long forgotten.

However, the speech served the purpose that it was supposed to; it set the stage for the fight for the middle of America’s voters. And since his GOP opponents are still fighting over the most conservative voters of the country, President Obama effectively used his annual bully pulpit to give him a considerable advantage with independent voters.
About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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