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White House: State of the Union to push progressive agenda

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: White House: State of the Union to push progressive agenda
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The White House is signaling that President Obama's Tuesday night State of the Union address will be unapologetically progressive.

"So much of what has animated his presidency so far is making sure that we grow this economy from the middle out. That middle class families feel like they have an opportunity to achieve the American Dream," said Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

For Obama, that means raising the minimum wage and extending the stalled jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.

The president is also expected to renew the call for comprehensive immigration reform, although it stalled in the House, there appears to be room left for deal-making.

"This is a core priority of the president’s. We do want to try to advance a compromise proposal that has bipartisan support in the Senate. It passed last year with strong Republican support," Earnest said.

With the Affordable Care Act grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons, Obama is expected to defend his healthcare overhaul.

"I think it's something the president has to do. It's his key legislative accomplishment, and he needs to own it now," said John Hudak, a fellow at The Brookings Institution.

And also expect to hear the president promise to use executive action to bypass a deadlocked Congress, if he has to.

The president’s speech comes as the 2014 midterm elections are taking shape, and Obama needs to rally his party. Democrats remember the disastrous 2010 midterms when they lost control of the House and handed over 63 seats to Republicans.

"He is trying to signal to his base. Trying to get people to start donating to campaigns, to Senate and House candidates who need it. He'll try to fire up the base to try to increase turnout in the midterm elections," Hudak said.

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