MILWAUKEE (WITI) — President Barack Obama is set to deliver his State of the Union address this week. According to the White House, the speech will be optimistic and focus on the middle class. After the speech, President Obama will take his message on the road to four places — one of which is Milwaukee. This is not the first time President Obama has used his big speech to put the spotlight on Wisconsin.
The state of the union in the Obama presidency has had a lot to do with the state of Wisconsin.
“It’s proof positive that Governor Walker is a rising star in the Republican Party and President Obama has taken notice of this, so the way to combat that is to come to a city like Milwaukee, a state like Wisconsin immediately after his national speech, his national agenda,” Political Strategist Chris Haworth said.
According to a White House memo on the “State of the Union” address, President Obama will visit Milwaukee after the speech.
In 2011, President Obama used his speech to tell Americans to “win the future.”
“This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” President Obama said.
Sputnik was the Russian satellite that spurred the United States to win the “space race” and when Sputnik fell out of the sky, it landed in Manitowoc.
Manitowoc was the first city President Obama landed in after the 2011 State of the Union address. He spoke at Orion Energy Systems — a maker of energy efficient lighting.
“It is here, more than 50 years later, that the race for the 21st century will be won,” President Obama said.
Then, in 2012 President Obama mentioned Milwaukee-based Master Lock, which has brought 100 jobs back to Milwaukee from overseas. He visited the company shortly after the speech to make the point that manufacturing was leading the nation’s economic recovery.
“More and more companies like Master Lock are now insourcing,” President Obama said.
In 2013, as he called for gun control legislation, he finished the speech with the story of Oak Creek Police Lieutenant Brian Murphy. Murphy was shot more than a dozen times as he confronted the gunman at the Sikh Temple shooting.
“When asked how he did that, Brian said, ‘That’s just the way we’re made. That’s just the way we’re made,’” President Obama said.
Political strategist Chris Haworth has worked on Democratic, Republican and independent campaigns. This year, President Obama is expected to scale back his ambitions and use the speech to put a rough year in the rearview mirror.
“It’s not going to be anything big and showy or anything like that. It’s going to be focused on income inequality and things like that, so just touch points with his base,” Haworth said.
But once again, Milwaukee and Wisconsin will likely play a prominent role — especially in this election year.
“It all has to do with the timing and what things are going on in the state, whether it’s a recent incident like the Oak Creek massacre or it’s something like the gubernatorial election,” Haworth said.