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The White House has released early excerpts from the State of the Union in which the president takes square aim at the tone of politics from the Republican presidential candidates -- even if he doesn't mention them by name.
According to the excerpts, Obama will say that the nation has faced times before when "there have been those who told us to fear the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, promising to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control. "
The message is a clear swipe at Republicans like Donald Trump, who promise to "make America great again" by rolling back Obama's progressive policies and restricting outsiders like Muslims and undocumented immigrants from entering and staying in the country.
Obama will say that America can overcome those fears, but only if "we fix our politics."
"A better politics doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything," he'll say, noting the size and diversity of the country. But he will also argue that "democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens."
Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, who is giving the Republican response to the State of the Union, has also released early excerpts from her speech.
"The President’s record has often fallen far short of his soaring words. As he enters his final year in office, many Americans are still feeling the squeeze of an economy too weak to raise income levels," she will say.
But in a remark that seems as aimed at the Trump wing of the party as at the president, Haley will also reference suspicion of immigrants, saying that Americans should not "follow the siren call of the angriest voices."
"Today, we live in a time of threats like few others in recent memory," she is expected to say. "During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation. No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country."