President Obama

As the Washington debate on how to reduce income inequality continues, President Obama laid out his plan in the State of the Union address. He called for universal, free community college, guaranteed paid sick leave and higher tax hikes on the wealthy.

The proposal is unlikely to pass in the new Republican-controlled House and Senate, but the speech set an agenda that both parties must now address.

In the first minute of his hourlong State of the Union address, President Barack Obama summed up his theme in single sentence: "Tonight, we turn the page."

The president then detailed a page of history filled with the financial crisis of 2008, the recession and unemployment and deficits that followed and the two distant and difficult wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It was a reminder of the ills that helped elevate young Sen. Obama to the Oval Office six years ago. And now, after many battles, he was ready to declare he had turned that page.

Updated at 6:00 p.m. ET

President Obama called Sony's decision to pull its film The Interview, following threats to movie theaters, a "mistake."

"We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States," the president said in his year-end news conference.

He added that he was "sympathetic" to Sony's concerns, but, "I wish they would have spoken to me first."

David Hyde talks with David Deese, political science professor at Boston College, about the politics behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

President Obama says the “whole country” is thinking about the victims of the Oso landslide in Snohomish County.

President Barack Obama is expected to visit the site of the deadly landslide in Snohomish County, Wash., later this month.

State lawmakers adjourn in Olympia, Seattle's $15 minimum wage gets more scrutiny and President Obama tries comedy to pitch the Affordable Care Act to young Americans. 

Steve Scher reviews these stories and more with Eli Sanders of The Stranger, news analyst Joni Balter, Crosscut's Knute Berger and Livewire host Luke Burbank.

Fighting wildfires would be funded more like hurricane and flood response under a proposal out of the Northwest that won President Obama's endorsement.

AP Photo/Larry Downing

David Hyde talks with Julian Zelizer, a historian at Princeton University, about President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech and his plans to use his executive power to get things done.

Flickr photo/Muhammad Ghafari

David Hyde talks with David Gergen, former presidential advisor, CNN political analyst and professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, about President Barack Obama's last State of the Union address and whether he met his goals for 2013.

(This post was most recently updated at 1:30 p.m. ET.)

Saying that "critics are right to point out that without proper safeguards, this type of program could be used to yield more information about our private lives," President Obama said Friday that he wants the National Security Agency to stop holding on to massive amounts of "metadata" about the phone calls and electronic communications of millions of people around the world.

Flickr photo/Muhammad Ghafari

Steve Scher talks with David Cole, constitutional lawyer and national security expert, about how the state of security has changed post 9/11 and whether or not President Obama's civil liberty record holds up to his promises.

Flickr Photo/Boston Public Library

David Hyde talks with Kenny Irby of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies about a confrontation between national media and the White House over a policy that shuts photographers out of some presidential events.

Just a year after he won re-election, President Obama's second term is already feeling long and fairly fruitless.

It could get worse.

It's typical for second-term presidents to enter the doldrums, but in Obama's case the feeling that he can't accomplish very much set in early. The hopes he stated last year that his re-election would "break the fever" of unyielding Republican opposition to everything he proposed turned out to be misguided.

"The president is clearly at his weakest point in his presidency so far," says GOP consultant Whit Ayres.

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