Obama Marks Start Of 2016 White House Race With State of Union Speech

In an opening salvo for the 2016 race for the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday night touted the U.S. economic comeback and spelled out his party' vision for the country's future during a nationally broadcast speech viewed by millions of Americans. 

Rather than following the usual State of the Union protocol of going through a laundry list of initiatives, the president instead underscored the partial U.S. economic rebound in a nationally televised annual State of the Union speech.

Experts contend that the speech was aimed at sending a clear message to the public and spelling out Democrats' vision for the country in the lead up to the 2016 race to the White House.

Republican strategist Ford O'Connell also told Xinhua that Obama's focus of this speech was to look forward to 2016. "He's trying to frame the race heading forward by focusing on economic mobility and stagnant wages," he said.

"The question is can Republicans come up with a set of solutions or at least a road map of solutions to beat the Democrats to the punch. If they can, they have a great shot of winning the White House in 2016," O'Connell said.

"Republicans win (the midterms) because people didn't agree with all of their policy plans. They won because most Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction and they don't think the economy is growing fast enough," O'Connell said.

Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua

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Analysis & Political Strategy