President Barack Obama delivered the annual State of the Union address Tuesday night amid an ongoing U.S. jobs crisis, a widening income gap and the continuing political logjam in Washington.
Obama made an effort to showcase recent U.S. economic improvements, pointing to a manufacturing sector that is adding jobs and a surging oil industry, calling 2014 a "breakthrough" year for the country.
But while many metrics show an economy making a comeback, it still feels like a recession for large chunks of the population, with the labor participation rate at a decades-long low, millions without jobs and a growing rich-poor income gap.
Obama addressed those concerns in his nationally televised speech, saying those at the top had "never done better," but "upward mobility has stalled," adding too many Americans are out of work or just making ends meet.
Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua Obama's speech was an effort to "put a positive spin on a bad situation," and the address was more about appearance than substance ahead of the elections.
"I think he realized he's on the verge of being a lame duck president but he also recognized the importance of having an upbeat, hopeful tone," he said.
While Obama spoke in his speech of getting Americans back to work, some experts said voters might have grown tired of Obama's characteristic uplifting rhetoric and want to see real results, in the form of more jobs, faster growth and higher wages.