Preview of State of the Union

President Obama plans a "Year of Action" for 2014.
3:00 | 01/27/14

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Transcript for Preview of State of the Union
This is a special group. I'm Dan Cutler -- New York with this ABC news digital special report the White House is calling it a year action President Obama takes office 2014. Tomorrow night when he. Deliver an excuse me. The State of the Union Address is sixth in fact congress and millions of Americans. Meantime a new ABC news Washington Post poll shows that just 35%. Of those polled believe the country's headed in the right direction. It's 37%. Said they had confidence in this president's to make the decisions necessary. To turn the tide so with those numbers staring him in the face president will attempt to use his big speech as a launching pad to bigger things to better times. Joining us now from Washington DC with a look ahead a preview if you will ABC's political director Rick Klein. Rick the White House really talking up this speech they knew they obvious that they want to make a clean break from 2013. At the same time I'm reminded of the old U2 -- nothing changes on New Year's Day. A question -- the means anything gonna change the president on the day after the state of the union speech. I don't know what you two songs that the quote exactly to make it work but I tell you. The answer the answer of course is -- nothing changes as a result of this and I can't remember a state of union this president has given. That as this little anticipation around that so few deliberations -- solo given how bad the last year was. This isn't like coming in after reelection knowing you have the wind of the will the people -- your back. All of the lofty promises the ideas in so many ways you can measure this president against -- the broken promises in the expectations. Not -- and the president's challenge now is to try to recapture any of that old magic. And begin to act on some things on their own as you say -- -- action -- the watcher from the White House they're promising that they're gonna be upbeat and optimistic. And decisive areas where this president can move even if congress doesn't. Perhaps even better than the real thing over the next follow clear to the promotional on this -- to Jay Carney was asked earlier this hour of the president's top 2013 challenges ahead. -- a play that. Basically whose -- And -- to -- -- immigration reform still trying to get some stuff some of its going to be in how -- prevent. How do you make between fourteen agenda. Potentially more successes that -- Well look I think again I'll I'll take. A couple of whacks at this first. It is. Certainly not how we view. And I would suggest should not be how you view -- Success in Washington of a president. On any party should not be measured alone by how many bills. Congress passes. And honestly. Given. What this president has signed into law over the course of his presidency. I can say that from a position. Pretty solid assurance that history will judge. The legislation this president has gotten past. As huge and important. But there is more and there's more potential. Considerate to things on that one it is it ever good sign when a White House starts telling people that history will be the best judge of its actions a bit of a legacy reflection there and and secondly. Is that potential really there and that's probably the more important more pressing question. -- it's -- question why this is something that it that a democratic used to work in the administration told me that the fear in the White House is that. They will end up spending the last six years of the presidency protecting the games of the first two. And it's you can sort of laugh at that at first but if you look at the tally of actual major legislation you realize. How the divided Washington has -- up against this president. You realize there's something to of that and then you add to the elements of the 2014 mid term elections the likelihood if not certainty that we will emerge from that -- more divided government. This president knows that he is not going to simply snap -- fingers and change Washington it was a hope. At the end of his reelection that they that it -- fever would break in his telling him that. That Republicans would come around and begin to work with -- on things that hasn't happened there's nothing to suggest is gonna happen this year in the eve of the mid term election. And little in history to suggest the last two years of this president's term. The ultimate lame -- time. He's going to be any different so in a sense if the president doesn't make himself relevant he will not be relevant he -- these -- individual executive actions these orders the president can do. By himself for him to have any realistic shot at me. Things happen in Washington pulling back to what's happening from 20092000. Manager. -- highlights on that. Or we're told the theme. The speech in the upcoming year is -- inequality gap by some growing opportunities. For young people as well how does the president plan on going about that. There's a public private partnerships that he's already been moving in the direction of of these are small -- things this is the idea of linking up community college with local industry to try to find training programs and in eight he's also talking about. Getting some companies to take pledges that they will discriminate against the long term unemployed he's going to be talking about the minimum wage in addition to that these are all small things that he can do without congress the big stuff takes congressional action. And again there is no. It no indication despite some of the breakthroughs -- budget stuff toward the end of last year that suddenly congress is willing to work together on anything much less the president's. Agenda so he's gonna have to be working around the margins -- the edges in trying to order things that he can do by himself. And I think just again if he can capture some of the old spirit again the yes we -- spirit of 2008. To a lesser degree 2012 -- you a chance at it and not letting the next three years slip away without anything major happening. There has been a lot of talk once again about immigration reform what is -- what's fueled the resurgence in and is -- anything perhaps the passing of the Republican primary season that could actually get legislation moving into an at a forward direction. Republicans as Smart thinking Republicans realize that it is a must do action item if they don't want to see. Another set of national elections past -- -- suffering the consequences among Latino -- we saw Mitt Romney's campaign supper. Because of the fact that he had some words that were not so kind to immigrants. And we seen this happen in any statewide races even in states that don't have enormous Latino populations Republicans. Are paying a price right now with voters for not acting on immigration reform. That is driving this conversation and that is was led house leadership. To begin the discussions about what they could pass -- only putting out some principles. Over the next week that they could support we know the bill already passed the senate that has the president support the house isn't gonna do that exactly but they are going to try to produce something that can at least be matched up against that senate -- so they can say look we tried this. Now do you begin to compromise -- the question comes back to the senate and the president do you wanna do data would you rather have the political benefit potentially of saying that the Republicans are standing in the way. It is the ultimate juggling feet to try to keep so many issues both domestic and foreign in the air and moving and -- -- correct direction as you want. As much -- the president -- -- a focus on inequality in America as being one of those major points there are some major issues going on right now deadly fighting going on raging abroad. How does the president characterized the wars in Iraq Afghanistan of course talking about situations getting worse and Syria even the Ukraine. It's a game of laughable on the international station it has been for so much of the president's second term you have all of these different areas now with the Olympics coming up in Russia potential new region. -- have to worry about. You know the situation in Syria which continues to it to worsen you've got a Dicey situation with Iran with the Middle East. Iraq and Afghanistan being what they are the president I think -- will declare something of a victory saying that. -- withdrawing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan it -- Ending America's involvement in the wars is not ending the wars themselves beyond that I think he's likely to -- to some successes you never. Could -- player -- declare complete victory in circumstances like this. But he is his leadership -- questioned all along the way has led to some tangible gains in the fact that we seem to be a substantially better situation with regard to Iran on the nuclear issue that we war. That -- he's got to rest of congress on this and they are nipping at his heels -- over all of these issues. Very much second guessing the president's own actions he has the tread carefully on these things because his audience in congress and beyond knows that so many of these events to spiral out of control very quickly. There will not be the aircraft carrier moment with a banner aboard that just -- -- hasn't yet. No president that again you're hydrated so we're looking forward to tomorrow night that aside from the usual suspects will we see in a crowded in the guest the First Lady and what is their invitation signal -- the kind of message that the president -- -- might not be able to verbally say that visually speaking. Be able to convey. -- since the Reagan years -- any stock in trade of the president to invite people who -- particular story you have you have heroes of the world of sport of the world of commerce sometimes. In addition to that just of tragic situations to that and a couple of survivors of the Boston bombing are gonna be in attendance Jason Collins that NBA player. Who came out as -- the first professional male athlete in American support to come out -- he's done fundraisers for the DNC. As well you try to highlight stories of American ingenuity of creativity. And -- what's interesting to me is that the other side likes that likes to do this as well now members of congress get to invite. Guess one member of congress a Republican from Texas is decided to invite Sean Hannity. Who's now talking about running for congress -- course a fierce critic of the president. And the father of one of the victims of the violence and named Ozzie will also be guests in attendance -- visible reminder of one of the darkest days in the foreign policy realm of the Obama administration. Let me ask you about this what do we know what the status of date -- -- that's always and that people get concerned about of wonder whether Democrats and Republicans will put aside differences -- for a moment and make it look like we have a bipartisan Washington. Yeah I think if if before they were going steady maybe they're seeing other people. It is it is -- back significantly we've heard about dozens of parents in previous years. So far just a very small number of of people crossing the I would expect that some more emerge but it is in his. -- biggest thing is it was a couple years ago your call it happened just a few weeks after the Gabby Giffords shooting. And that was a big issue right there in the beginning of president Obama's. -- street lost the majority in the house took over was taken over by Republicans have a visible sign. We know though how so many issues it -- since then so I think. Look it was always a stunt a little bit of a gimmick and I think now more more members say you know what -- discuss that with my friends -- not have not gonna make this up. Members now taking on the it's complicated status update on their FaceBook and just hiding in the FaceBook relationship status altogether. And we we talked about some very big high profile game -- elections this vault some in fact even before that so what's the ABC news political unit units side. -- -- we got a new product that we just launched online -- fourteen for fourteen -- -- most intriguing the most interesting races what you need to know about 2014 I'll just mention a couple of them really fast. Scott Walker the governor of Wisconsin up for reelection in that in his home state if he wins again that'll -- three wins -- -- four years there's no better way to start a presidential resonate. Then right there another one is Wendy Davis in Texas we've talked a lot about the fact that she became an overnight celebrity with that the pink sneakers she brought to the the state senate in Texas that filibuster she is trying to turn Texas blue however against. -- a very popular and the incumbent attorney general Greg -- there happens to be paralyzed from the waist down an intriguing personal story from him as well. Stay -- state of Texas George P. Bush is running for office in Texas for that rather obscure position of land commissioner. The idea though is that this is a jumping off point for him is the state -- office in Texas. Almost certainly that will launch the next generation of the bush dynasty and he's not the only prominent name was running -- Jimmy Carter's grandson running for governor of Georgia -- well. My interest -- that -- -- shameless plug I fourteen for fourteen is great I'm now hooked on addictive it's a perfect. Perfect resources you need going to midterm elections Rick live from Washington DC Rick thanks so much of course we chatting with you tomorrow night. Thanks that and -- complete coverage as the buildup will continue on state of union for tomorrow night for -- Dan Butler New York with this ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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