While conservatives agree with the subject of Barack Obama's Tuesday State of the Union address, they are chiding the president for what they anticipate will be more campaign rhetoric.
The president's State of the Union (SOTU) preview was released over the weekend. In the video, the president revealed plans to unveil an economic plan to tackle unemployment.
"In a lot of ways my address on Tuesday will be a bookend to what I said in Kansas last month, about the central mission we have as a country and my central focus as president," Obama said. "And that's rebuilding an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded and an America where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules."
The president said his focus will also include boosting the American manufacturing field, investing in U.S. energy and taxing America's high income earners.
Janice Shaw Crouse, head of the conservative think tank Concerned Women for America, told The Christian Post she too believes that the focus must be on the U.S. economy. But the former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush said the focus must be on reductions rather than tax and spending. Obama, she said, should be "talking on realistic terms about the economy and cutting spending."
But she and other critics expect the president to spout out more rhetoric ahead of the November presidential election.
"I've never see a president who is so willing to use the White House as a platform for his campaign," Crouse said.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told Fox News that the president has "given up on actually doing his job" to campaign.
"Obama is in full-time campaign mode," he said of the president's recent trip to Disney World.
He and other conservatives expect more of the same during the nationally-televised address.
The SOTU preview video has been released on Obama's campaign website rather than the White House website.
The focus of the SOTU address is also one of the biggest threats to President Obama's re-election campaign. No president has won re-election with a national unemployment rate over 7.2 percent since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936.
The number of Americans without jobs spiked to over 9 percent last summer. Since then the jobless rate has dropped to 8.5 percent in December. The drop marks the lowest unemployment rate in nearly three years.
However, American Enterprise Institute blogger James Pethokoukis said the drop in unemployment is hardly a reflection of Americans' experiences.
"If the [current] size of the U.S. labor force was as large as it was when Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 10.9 percent. But since so many people have gotten discouraged and stopped looking for work – and thus disappeared by government statisticians – the jobless number has been artificially depressed," he said.
Tony Fratto, a former deputy assistant to George W. Bush, told Politico that all presidents use the SOTU before the election to reach voters.
"He is, in fact, the commander in chief and president of the United States who also happens to be running for re-election. You have to understand and accept that he is going to have certain advantages," he commented.
Crouse acknowledged Fratto's point, but noted Obama has established a "pattern" of campaigning on the job beginning with his summer 2011 jobs tour visiting key states.
Crouse and Priebus agree the president is blatantly trying to offset his record. "This president cannot talk on his record so he has to make up something," said Crouse.
She soon expects Obama's pattern to backfire. "When all you do is campaign … that sounds hollow," she summed.
Already, she said voters are frustrated with the president's latest promises. Those who expected job creation and energy investment have been disappointed by the president rejecting the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.
"That is most ridiculous thing that he has done," Crouse said. The project, with its oil production and job creation potential, is, she said, "something he talked about" – investing in energy and jobs. Yet Obama opposed the very things he said he wanted to invest in, Crouse pointed out.
"The American people are now looking past his rhetoric," she predicted of the upcoming address.