Of course there's plenty that President Barack Obama should say in his State of the Union, but for good political reason there's a couple of issues that POTUS should avoid.
On Tuesday morning four pundits – Republicans John Feehery and Whit Ayres and Democrats Stan Greenberg and Kiki McLean – gathered at the Bipartisan Policy Center and played a little game of What Not to Say: State of the Union Edition.
1. Immigration: "About the only thing the president could do tonight to immigration reform is screw it up," said Ayres, president of North Star Opinion Research. "The more he talks about how he's for it, the more difficult the lift becomes in the House to get something done."
2. That He's Going It Alone: Sure, it's already been reported Obama plans to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contractors, since a broader minimum wage bill has been stalled in Congress, but pundits suggested POTUS not talk too much about ditching the legislative branch. "It's not just what the president says about immigration, it's also what he says about other things, about him going it alone without Congress," said Feehery, a president at Quinn Gillespie Communications. "The more he says those things in the speech, the harder it is for John Boehner and Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy to gather up votes for an immigration bill," Feehery added.
3. That Republicans Stink: Tonight's speech isn't about feeding Obama's liberal base. "A hard swing that's a political swing at the opposition party...is not the right thing to do tonight," said McLean. Feehery agreed, adding "throwing red meat is not going to help his legacy." . Instead, McLean suggested Obama can tactfully say he needs Congress to pass something and outline why, but he need not play the political blame game. "I don't think he's going to throw red meat," McLean predicted.