POLITICS: PennAve

White House week ahead: NSA fallout, prep for State of the Union address

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Politics,White House,Brian Hughes,Barack Obama,National Security,PennAve,Economy

The White House this week will devote its attention to managing the fallout from President Obama's National Security Agency reforms and putting the finishing touches on his swiftly approaching State of the Union address.

In laying out his blueprint for controversial NSA surveillance techniques, Obama renewed the debate in Washington about the tradeoffs between national security and privacy.

Obama struck a middle ground on how the NSA should move forward, saying the agency would have to receive secret-court approval before tapping into stored phone information and calling for further study on how the government could get out of the business of holding the metadata.

Obama has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to report back to him by March 28 on how to keep the metadata. But in the meantime, the White House will face questions on whether Obama has any concrete ideas or simply punted the issue to Congress.

With his long-awaited NSA remarks behind him, the president now turns to his biggest speech of the year: the State of the Union address.

Obama will address both chambers of Congress on Jan. 28 and has been working with aides behind the scenes on crafting a message that will define his agenda for the rest of the year.

After the roughest stretch of his presidency, Obama is desperate for some momentum. And with his State of the Union address, Obama will likely speak to his largest national audience in 2014.

The president will use the opportunity to argue that his administration has moved past the botched rollout of Obamacare and trumpet his economic plans to combat income inequality.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Monday also will participate in a community service project to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday will meet with members of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. The president created the group after his last State of the Union address to “identify non-partisan ways to shorten lines at polling places, promote the efficient conduct of elections and provide better access to the polls for all voters.”

On Wednesday, the president and Biden will host an event at the White House for the Council on Women and Girls, chaired by Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. And Obama on Thursday will welcome mayors to the White House for a reception.

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