By Amie Parnes - 01/24/12 08:10 PM EST
While President Obama will lay out a blueprint for a built-to-last economy in Tuesday night’s State of the Union, he will also seek to tout his economic and foreign policy accomplishments, according to a set of talking points issued Tuesday by the White House legislative affairs office.
“The economy has added a total of 3.2 million private sector jobs,” reads the memo, titled, “An America Built to Last,” which has been distributed to Capitol Hill and beyond.
“American manufacturing is creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990’s. The American auto industry is coming back. Today, American oil production is the highest it’s been in eight years. Together, we’ve agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion. And the president has signed into law new rules to hold Wall Street accountable.”
“For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq,” the memo reads. “We’ve decimated al Qaeda’s leadership, delivered justice to Osama bin Laden, and put that terrorist network on the path to defeat. We’ve made important progress in Afghanistan, and begun a transition so Afghans can assume more responsibility. We joined with allies and partners to protect the Libyan people as they ended the regime of [Moammar Gadhafi].”
Much of Obama’s State of the Union address will be centered around building a solid economy that is founded on American manufacturing, American skills and education. Obama also will call for a renewal of American values, according to the talking points.
“What’s at stake is the very survival of the basic American promise that if you work hard, you can do well enough to raise a family, own a home, and put a little away for retirement,” the memo reads, stating that the current moment for the middle class is “the defining issue of our time.”
“No challenge is more urgent; no debate is more important,” it continues. “We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while more Americans barely get by or we can build a nation where everyone ... does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.
“We cannot go back to an economy based on outsourcing, bad debt and phony financial profits.”
The White House is hoping its economic message will resonate in the fall, especially if Obama’s GOP opponent is Mitt Romney, who on Tuesday released his tax records under pressure from Democrats and his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination.
The tax records showed Romney paid a tax rate of less than 15 percent because most of his income comes from capital gains.
Obama is pushing for a tax code re-write based on the so-called “Buffett Rule,” named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has said his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does. The Buffett Rule would ensure wealthier people pay a higher tax rate.
Buffett’s secretary is among Obama’s guests at the State of the Union address.
Just a few hours before Obama was expected to deliver the address, he told reporters as he walked from the Oval Office that there “may be a few touch-ups.”
Asked whether he was pleased with the speech, he smiled and replied: “Not bad.”
Obama ignored a question about whether Romney should pay more in taxes.
— This story was posted at 12:32 p.m. and updated at 3:10 p.m.