Obama previews his ‘nontraditional’ State of the Union

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President Obama previewed his final State of the Union address in a video released Wednesday, giving the country a glimpse of what to expect during his last year in the White House. 
Standing in front of his desk in the Oval Office, Obama says he’s been thinking about how the nation has worked “to recover from crisis” and people’s” ability to change for the better.” 
“It is what I want to focus on in this State of the Union address,” he said. “Not just the remarkable progress we’ve made, not just what I want to get done in the year ahead, but what we all need to do together in the years to come. 
“The big things that will guarantee an even stronger, better, more prosperous America for our kids — that’s what’s on my mind.”
The president’s message is a reflection of what his aides have described as the “non-traditional” speech he plans to give to the nation next Tuesday. 
Instead of rattling off a laundry list of proposals for lawmakers to consider, Obama plans to take a big-picture approach to some of the challenges facing the country. 
It’s a recognition of the limits he faces this year, with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress and the 2016 presidential race consuming valuable political bandwidth. 
Obama this week issued new executive action on guns, a step he said was necessary because of Congress’s refusal to act. The president has named his Pacific Rim trade pact and criminal justice reform as two areas where lawmakers could make progress, but he did not mention them in the video. 
An email from White House chief of staff Denis McDonough accompanies the video and checks off a list of Obama’s accomplishments in the last year, including deals with Iran and Cuba and a global climate change agreement. 
“But what we have left to do is bigger than any one policy initiative or new bill in Congress,” he writes. “This is about who we are, where we’re headed, and what kind of country we want to be.”
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