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    Obama's State of the Union Speech Kicks Off 2016 Political Blame Game

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    Experts consider US President Barack Obama's speech during his State of the Union address the opening salvo in the 2016 presidential campaign, framing the choice between Republicans and Democrats.

    WASHINGTON, January 22 (Sputnik) — US President Barack Obama during his State of the Union address signaled the opening round for 2016 political contests, which both parties will try to win by blaming the other for rejecting political agendas designed to fail, experts told Sputnik.

    “This is really the opening salvo in the 2016 presidential campaign, framing the choice between Republicans and Democrats, predicting and expecting that Republicans will reject particularly Obama’s tax increase proposals,” Professor of Government at the University of Texas, Bruce Buchanan, said on Wednesday.

    Setting up the Republicans as obstructing Obama’s agenda was a part of the president’s “political strategy and the most important potential impact of the speech,” Buchanan added.

    Dr. Lara Brown, Political Management Program Director at George Washington University, also saw Obama attempting to set-up Republicans for the fall in 2016 by outlining an agenda he knows well the Republicans will never accept. However, she also accused both sides of playing the blame game.

    “You saw this in the Republican response and you saw this in the President’s speech. Both parties are looking to vindicate themselves from the gridlock and set-up the other party for what I call the politics of blame,” Brown explained.

    One of the aspects of the Republican strategy, Brown says, will be to pass bills they know the President will veto. A year from now the Republicans will argue that they passed all of this legislation that died on the president’s desk, therefore the country needs a Republican president, she added.

    The President, on the other hand, will claim that he laid out this amazing agenda that the Republicans rejected, which means the United States needs a Democratic Congress, Brown said.

    Both sides are vying to reclaim the trust of the US people and want to avoid the appearance of being intransigent, especially since the government shutdown, the political expert elaborated, so they will be well-positioned in 2016.

    Drexel University political science professor, William Rosenberg, interpreted Obama’s speech as asking Congress to figure out how to get along with the President in tackling his agenda and addressing the issues they were voted into office to solve.

    “The President was saying: look, there’s a lot of areas that we agree on and we should move in those areas. We all came to Washington to solve certain problems,” Rosenberg said.

    However, Rosenberg also said that the President made it clear he was not going to bend on certain critical issues to his political legacy like Obamacare, immigration and middle class-focused economic policies.

    During his State of the Union address, the President said he would veto any congressional bills that would undo previous legislation on health insurance, immigration reform, Wall Street regulations and economic policies to support the US middle class.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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