President Obama Says Final State of the Union Address Will Spotlight Legacy, Optimism

The president plans to highlight achievements of his term in final address.

"I don’t think I’ve ever been more optimistic about a year ahead than I am right now," he says.

Top Obama aides have said this year's address will be "non-traditional." Instead of outlining a long list of legislative to-do’s, the president is expected to use the nationally-televised platform to take a big-picture approach to frame the issues the country faces and his legacy.

The State of the Union, set for next Tuesday, Jan. 12, marks the beginning of Obama's farewell from office. While the 2016 presidential election may not be explicitly mentioned in the speech, the White House has signaled that it will effectively set the tone for Democrats’ overarching campaign message.

"Together, as a nation, we face some critical choices," McDonough writes. "If we make the right ones that build on the best of what our nation has to offer, we will leave our kids and grandkids an America that's never been stronger, fairer, and more prosperous."