'The State of the Union is…' According to Rep. Tom Cole & Nicolle Wallace

Each day leading up to President Obama's State of the Union address, ABCNews.com will bring you newsmakers' thoughts on what "The State of the Union is …"

As President Obama prepares for his State of the Union address tonight, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., and ABC News Political Analyst Nicolle Wallace discussed the opportunity the speech presents for the president and the country.

"The state of the union is the second opportunity for the president to do what he didn't do in the inaugural address - that's talk to the 48 or 9 percent of the people that didn't support him," Cole said. "I'm hopeful he'll lay out a much more detailed plan about how to deal with the economy, about how we work together across the partisan divide and perhaps point out some of the places where we have such as the fiscal cliff and Sandy relief where both sides ended up better off because we cooperated instead of fought one another, but again, it's up to the president. He is the president and he's the leader so hopefully he'll set the right tone."

"The State of the Union is coming. It's Tuesday night and I think the stakes are high for both sides," Wallace, a GOP strategist, said. "Obviously President Obama has to follow up on his rather historic inaugural address but republicans have to raise their game if they want to be in it with this president on every issue Americans are talking about and care about at this point in time."

Over the past week, ABC News has collected thoughts on the current state of the union. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said the state of the union "needs a real jolt" to ensure working class Americans have the opportunity to succeed in the economy, while David Walker, former U.S. Comptroller General and founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative, told us he sees the current state of the union as "mixed."

Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, said the state of the union is "not particularly good," and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman shared a similar view, saying it's "still pretty bad."

Michelle Rhee, CEO & Founder of StudentsFirst, considered education to be the answer to improving the state of the union.

"The state of the union is increasingly going to have to focus on public education and what we can do to improve it," Rhee, who is a former chancellor of Washington D.C. public schools, said.

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