Given the nonstop, stereo-rock news cycle, the warp speed tempo of geopolitics and the constant to-and-fro between the media and the president, has the State of the Union address become obsolete?
Traditionally, the speech — an annual where-we-stand lecture delivered by the president to a joint session of Congress — has for decades been an opportunity for the professor in chief to issue a national report card and put current events in calm, codifiable context.
The hotly-contested Republican primary has gotten a lot of attention lately. Tuesday night, President Obama has a chance to reclaim the spotlight. He's delivering his annual State of the Union address. It's a high-profile platform for the president as he tries to frame the choice facing voters in November.
You might remember, last summer, the U.S. women's soccer team caught the attention of the nation with its dramatic run to the final of the women's world cup in Germany. Well, this week, the team is playing in an all-important, Olympic-qualifying tournament in Vancouver. And Christine Brennan is there covering the event for USA Today.
The Brazilian state oil company has a new chief executive and her name is Maria das Gracas Foster. Petrobras is the world's fifth-largest oil producer, and Foster becomes the first woman to run a top-five oil company. This comes as the firm looks to double its production by 2020. The company's stocks surged on news of the appointment.
The senator was delayed at the Nashville airport Monday. An alarm went off as he passed through security. He asked to be rescreened but was told he'd have to undergo a pat down. Paul declined. He's the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
A string of debates and primaries has kept the Republican presidential candidates in the spotlight this election season. Tonight, it's the president's turn to take center stage. President Obama will deliver the annual State of the Union Address, and in many ways kick off his own campaign for re-election. It's a reminder that Mr. Obama is running for president.
As we've been reporting on the program this morning, Mitt Romney went on the attack at the GOP presidential debate in Florida last night. His target was rival Newt Gingrich, who was forced to defend his record as House speaker and later as a consultant to mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Gingrich denied charges of influence peddling that were leveled by Romney. And Gingrich said he was the type of bold, tough leader Washington needs.
Renee Montagne talks with reporter Kim Masters about some of the likely nominees when the Oscar nominations are announced later in Beverly Hills. Masters is editor-at-large for The Hollywood Reporter, and host of The Business on member station KCRW.
All right, so Romney has gone on the attack in Florida, and he'll also be answering a lot of questions today about those taxes that he is releasing. As we heard from Mara, it turns out over the last few years, the effective tax rate Romney has paid is just under 15 percent.
Now, Newt Gingrich has been pressing Romney to publicly disclose the documents. And the former House speaker released his own tax returns, to dramatic effect, during a debate last Thursday.