LIVE UPDATES: 2013 State of the Union Address

Tonight President Obama will gives his annual assessment to the nation of the State of the Union at 9 p.m., followed by a Republican response from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Tea Party response from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. The president has said he will focus on the economy, and there are seven things we're pretty certain he will say.

Refresh here for updates and fact checks throughout the night.

Tune in to for livestreaming coverage of the 2013 State of the Union Address. ABC State of the Union coverage starts at 8:50 p.m.

All times are in Eastern Standard Time.

11:32 p.m. - Nugent's Strange Reaction to the SOTU

ABC's Chris Good reports:

Guitarist/gun enthusiast/occasional shirt wearer Ted Nugent milled about Statuary Hall after President Obama's State of the Union address, mobbed by reporters and conducting multiple TV interviews.

Unsurprisingly Nugent didn't like the speech.

"My reaction? I'm not allowed to do that, because I'm supposed to keep my pants on," Nugent said.

Nugent has openly criticized Obama's support for gun control legislation and tonight was no exception.

Wearing a green camoflauge cowboy hat and matching boots, he told ABC News that he does not believe President Obama really fired a shotgun at clay pigeons.

"Can I say 'bull shit?'" he asked, calling the photo of President Obama. "I don't think it was a fake photo. It was a fake photo."

Nugent suggested President Obama's aides guided him in an elaborate pose, culminating in the emanation of smoke from the end of the barrel without a shot being fired.

"If he's shooting skeet, I'm a gay pirate."

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11:25 p.m. - Boehner and Paul Ryan Both Critical of SOTU Address

ABC's John Parkinson reports:

House Speaker John Boehner reacted to the president's SOTU address, characterizing it as "little more than more of the same 'stimulus' policies that have failed to fix our economy and put Americans back to work" while also questioning the president's position on replacing the sequester.

"The president had an opportunity to offer a solution tonight, and he let it slip by," Boehner, R-Ohio, stated. "We are only weeks away from the devastating consequences of the president's sequester, and he failed to offer the cuts needed to replace it."

Former Republican vice presidential nominee and current Budget chairman Paul Ryan also reacted negatively to the president's address, questioning whether the president fully appreciates the challenge of the country's debt.

"Tonight, he outlined many new programs in detail. But when it came to spending restraint, he was remarkably brief," Ryan, R-Wis., stated. "He overstated his administration's success on this front. And he downplayed the task before us."

11:13 p.m. - Cruz: Obama to Use Immigration As 'Issue to Campaign on'

(Image credit: Harry Hamburg, File/AP Photo)

ABC's Chris Good reports:

After President Obama outlined his vision for immigration reform in his address tonight, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he believes Obama is the single-biggest obstacle to immigration reform happening.

"What he's looking for is a political issue," Cruz told reporters. "His goal is not to get a bill passed but to have an issue to campaign on in 2014 and 2016."

11:05 p.m. - SLIDESHOW: SOTU Guests Wear Ribbons for Gun Shooting Victims

Click the photo below to see the slideshow.

(Image Credit: Charles Dharapak/AP Photo)

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10:55 p.m. - SOTU Response is Thirsty Work

While Sen. Marco Rubio undoubtedly was hoping Americans would come away from his State of the Union response talking about the substance of his words, what had Twitter buzzing was his mid-speech grab for a bottle of water.

Leading up to that awkward pause, Rubio was seen licking his lips and wiping his mouth as he talked - a tad distracting for an audience so late in the night.

Following his response in English, Rubio broadcast a pre-taped version in Spanish.

10:50 p.m. - Sen. Cruz: Obama Looking to Make Immigration 'Issue to Campaign on'

After President Obama outlined his vision for immigration reform in his address tonight, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he believes Obama is the single-biggest obstacle to immigration reform happening.

"What he's looking for is a political issue," Cruz told reporters. "His goal is not to get a bill passed but to have an issue to campaign on in 2014 and 2016."

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10:43 p.m. - Obama Pushes 'Equal Treatment for All Service Members'

ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports:

The president called for "all service members" to have access to "equal benefits," including same sex couples in his address tonight.

"We will ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families - gay and straight," the president said, adding a thank you to his wife and Dr. Jill Biden for "their continued dedication to serving our military families as well as they serve us" which earned a bipartisan standing ovation.

The president's mention of equal benefits for same sex couples in the military comes just days after a woman who fought to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which banned her wife from receiving military benefits to help care for their daughter died.

Charlie Morgan, a chief warrant officer in the New Hampshire Army National Guard died on Sunday after a battle with breast cancer.

She was a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit in 2011 saying DOMA violated her constitutional rights. Under the act the Pentagon is required to ignore same sex marriages, even those that are legal like in New Hampshire or other states where same sex marriage is legal.

The president also mentioned gay rights in his inaugural address and his support of same sex-marriage was history making and one of the biggest headlines our of the speech.

"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well," Obama said in his address on the Capitol steps after his swearing in.

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10:37 p.m. - SOTU's Most Tweeted Moments

Twitter confirmed to ABC News that the most popular moment of the night on its social media platform was when President Obama said, "we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them."

That line came just after the president's call to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 - the first raise since he first took office in 2009.

The second most tweeted moment of the night was his call for a vote on gun control legislation.

10:30 p.m. Obama Finds a GOP Ally On Immigration

ABC's Chris Good reports:

If and when immigration reform comes to the floor of the Senate expect Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., to back it.

"I'm really pleased on immigration," Graham told a gaggle of reporters of Obama's address. "I want to help the president."

The last time immigration reform came to the floor of the Senate at the behest of president Bush Graham delivered an impassioned speech urging his conservative colleagues to compromise.

10:28 p.m. - SOTU by the Numbers

ABC's Michael Conte reports:

Number of times President Obama was interrupted by applause: 74

Number of interruptions by standing ovations: 39

Number of those ovations that appeared to be only or mostly Democrats standing: 24

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10:20 p.m. - Brookings Fellow: Not Much New on Deficit in SOTU

Bill Galston, senior fellow at Washington think tank Brookings, said the president "broke little new ground" on deficit reform in his address tonight. Here are excerpts from Galston's reaction:

In the face of looming legislative deadlines-the sequester at the end of February, the expiration of the continuing resolution at the end of March, and another encounter with the debt ceiling in late spring, the president urged agreements that would avert these events but offered nothing beyond what he had already put on the table.

While the president did offer an outline of a long-term approach, it is unlikely to satisfy the many Americans who regard the budget deficit as a grave threat to the country's future. Rather than proposing a "grand bargain," as many budget experts and bipartisan commissions have urged, he reiterated his target of $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction over the next decade. While this would be just enough to stabilize the ratio of debt to the Gross Domestic Product during that period, it would do little to address the long-term imbalance between the commitments we have made to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security and the revenues now available to fund them. Well before the end of the decade, his approach would allow the deficit to begin rising again, with no end in sight. Obama appears to have decided that there is no possibility of resolving the larger fiscal issues on terms that he and his party would find acceptable. So he will hand these issues off to the next president, who will no longer enjoy the luxury of delay.

Although the State of the Union was less about progressive principles than was the second inaugural, its tone and substance extended few olive branches to the Republicans. For a while, anyway, Obama is committed to an outside-in strategy: he will take his case to the country to build support for his program and ratchet up pressure on the opposition party to go along.

This represents a high-stakes gamble. If the strategy succeeds, the president will end up with an impressive roster of legislative accomplishments. But if it leaves Republicans unmoved, he will face an unpleasant choice between negotiating with a weakened hand and accepting gridlock.

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10:12 p.m. - Drones Make Cameo at SOTU

ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports:

Nearly a week after his top counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan, defended the administration's policy of "targeted killing" at his CIA confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, President Obama made glancing mention of the controversial and constitutionally murky CIA drone program. He said the administration will continue to "take direct action against terrorists." But he added that "we must enlist our values in this fight."

And he suggested he would be more transparent on the program, at least with Congress.

Read More: The Drone Debate

Here is what Obama said tonight:

Today, the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self. Different al Qaeda affiliates and extremist groups have emerged - from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa. The threat these groups pose is evolving. But to meet this threat, we don't need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we will need to help countries like Yemen, Libya, and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.

As we do, we must enlist our values in the fight. That is why my Administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism operations. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word that we're doing things the right way. So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage with Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.

10:10 p.m. - President Urges Congress to Vote on Gun Control

In urging lawmakers to bring gun violence legislation to a vote, President Obama referenced Hadiya Pendelton, a young girl who was shot and killed in Chicago less than two weeks after performing as part of Obama's inaugural festivities.

10:08 p.m. - Obama References Rival Romney

ABC's Michael Falcone reports that Obama has offered two separate shout-outs in his address to his former GOP rival, Mitt Romney.

  • "In fact, working folks shouldn't have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher. So here's an idea that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: let's tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on."
  • "I'm announcing a non-partisan commission to improve the voting experience in America. And I'm asking two long-time experts in the field, who've recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Governor Romney's campaign, to lead it."

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9:55 p.m. - American Troops in Afghanistan

President Obama announced tonight that he will withdraw another 34,000 troops from Afghanistan.

Yesterday, ABC's Jon Karl predicted that announcement and reported a U.S. official had confirmed that the White House discussion centered on leaving fewer than 10,000 troops behind in Afghanistan after 2014 and then phasing them down gradually the next few years.

Read more from Jon Karl here.

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9:53 p.m. - What Would It Mean to Increase the Minimum Wage?

ABC's Shushannah Walshe and Sarah Parnass report:

President Obama called for an increase of the federal minimum wage in his address tonight from $7.25 an hour to $9.00 an hour by 2015. It's the first time as president Obama has proposed raising the minimum wage, but as a candidate in 2008 he promised to raise it to $9.50 by 2011. The last time it was raised was in 2009 when it increased from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour where it has stayed since.

It was the last step of a three part increase approved by Congress in 2007 and it translates to $15,080 a year for a full time worker. Before 2007, the minimum wage remained at $5.15 per hour for ten years. There have been calls consistently for the minimum wage to be raised and currently there are campaigns in New York, Maryland, Connecticut, New Mexico amongst others to lobby at the state level for an increase in the state minimum wage.

Washington is the only state with a minimum wage of $9 or more. Seven other states and the District of Columbia have a minimum wage of $8 or more. So for most states it would mean at least a $1 increase per hour for all workers at the lowest level of the pay scale.

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9:49 p.m. - Obama Urges House to Pass Violence Against Women Act

In his address, President Obama praised Vice President Joe Biden for his role in putting together the original Violence Against Woman Act and urged the House to pass the bill.

That legislation was approved in the Senate earlier today.

Univision's Emily DeRuy reports on why this act - once considered relatively uncontroversial - is by no means guaranteed to pass. Read more from DeRuy here.

9:45 p.m. - Obama Wants Pre-K for All

ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports:

Obama called for a new program to support state efforts to increase access for all four-year-olds to quality preschool education. The National Institute for Early Education Research's most recent report in 2011 on the State of Preschool said funding for pre-K "decreased by almost $60 million in 2010-2011 when adjusted for inflation, despite the use of $127 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)."

The report said it was the "second year of decline" and "in some states, the declines in 2010-2011 have been compounded by cuts in 2011-2012-and further cuts loom for 2012-2013. This threatens to undo much of the progress some states have made."

The report says these cuts compounded with demand for high-quality pre-K means "the nation is experiencing a crisis in quality."

While 28 percent of 4-year-olds were enrolled in early childhood education programs in 2011, up from 27 percent in 2010 average state spending per child enrolled was $4,151 in 2011, a more than $700 drop from 2002, the report states.

Opponents of universal pre-K see it as just another example of wasteful government spending while the national deficit continues to swell.

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9:40 p.m. - Obama Repeats Infrastructure Pitch

ABC's Sarah Parnass reports:

If it feels like you've heard Obama's call for infrastructure jobs before, that's probably because you have.

Tonight, President Obama proposed a program he called "Fix-It-First" "to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country."

"And to make sure taxpayers don't shoulder the whole burden, I'm also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children," Obama said. "Let's prove that there is no better place to do business than the United States of America. And let's start right away."

In September of 2011, Obama told a crowd in Detroit, Mich. there were roads and bridges in the U.S. "that need rebuilding."

"We've got private companies with the equipment and the manpower to do the building," Obama said that Labor Day. "We've got more than 1 million unemployed construction workers ready to get dirty right now."

Even then it was a tired refrain.

At that time ABC's Devin Dwyer reported the president first presented a similar plan for jobs in infrastructure in 2010.

Read more on that $50-billion proposal here.

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9:36 p.m. - Palin Punts

While President Obama discussed his plans for wind energy and slowing climate change, former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin asked his supporters if they had "#OBuyersRemorse?"

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9:33 p.m. - A Lack of Enthusiasm for SOTU

ABC's Chris Good reports:

Not everyone likes State of the Union addresses. Count newly minted GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., among the less enthused.

"I don't like them when Republicans give them," the former congressman told ABC on his way into the chamber.

Asked how many times he expected to clap tonight, Flake wouldn't say.

"The first time I attended one with President Bush, [former GOP congressman and current Indiana Gov.] Mike Pence and I were sitting next to each other, and [Bush] was talking about No Child Left Behind or something, and he leaned over and said, 'Just cause I'm a-clappin for it doesn't mean I'm a-votin for it,'" Flake recounted.

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9:29 p.m. - Obama Fights Back on Budget

"Deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan," President Obama said tonight shortly before 9:30 p.m.

In the past few weeks, conservatives have been urging the president to put forward a plan for a balanced budget.

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9:28 p.m. - Secretary of State 'Having a Great Time'

ABC's Chris Good reports:

John Kerry seems to be having a grand old time at the State Department.

"It's great-I'm having a great time," Kerry said of his new job, pausing _very_ briefly on his way into an ante-room outside the House chamber before President Obama's State of the Union address.

"I'm having fun," he said.

Kerry quickly disappeared into the room with his wife.

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9:09 p.m. - Vice President Four-Eyes

ABC's Arlette Saenz reports:

Did you notice the new look on VP Joe Biden tonight? The vice president is wearing glasses because he scratched his eye with a contact lens, a White House aide says.

He wore the glasses yesterday at the roundtable on gun safety in Philadelphia. Biden does not wear his glasses at major events very often.

9:05 p.m. - State of the Union: Who's On the Sidelines?

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8:38 p.m. - Scalia Calls SOTU a 'Rather Silly Affair'

ABC's Ariane de Vogue reports Justice Scalia didn't hold back tonight when asked during a speaking engagement why he hasn't attended a State of the Union address for some 16 years.

"It has turned into a childish spectacle," he said. "I do not want to be there to lend dignity to it."

Scalia said the event "has become a very political event" that is filled with applause lines. He said it's a "rather silly affair".

It is not the first time Scalia has expressed his doubts about the State of the Union.

He added he was unaware when he agreed to speak that tonight's event would conflict with President Obama's speech.

"I didn't set this up just to upstage the president," he joked.

Scalia spoke to an audience at George Washington University in an event sponsored by The Smithsonian Associates. He was interviewed by NPR's Nina Totenberg.

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8:27 p.m. - 45 Gun Violence Victims to Attend

ABC's John Parkinson reports Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer is bringing two guests, pushing the total to 45 guests who are victims or related to victims of gun violence.

Congressman Hoyer invited Patricia Bell and Sabrina Worthington, the mother and sister of Maryland State Trooper Wesley Brown, a young officer who was tragically shot and killed while working an off-duty security detail at a restaurant in Forestville, Md., in 2010.

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8:20 p.m. - Sec. Chu to Be Designated Survivor

ABC's Devin Dwyer reports Energy Secretary Steven Chu has been designated to not attend the State of the Union address at the Capitol this evening, per the White House.

He is the "designated survivor" in the event of a catastrophic occurrence tonight. He will watch the speech from an undisclosed location.

Earlier this month Chu announced that he would step down from his cabinet post and return to California.

He then proved that politicians can take a joke, ABC's Zach Wolf reports, when he responded to an Onion parody in which he was portrayed as waking up hung over, next to a solar panel.

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7:50 p.m. - What to Watch Tonight

ABC's Rick Klein ticks off the five things to look out for during Obama's address tonight.

From gun violence to Obama's bread and butter; and from marching orders for members of Congress to a sneak-peek of 2016.

Read the rest from Rick here.

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7:37 p.m. - Americans for Prosperity Prez Gives SOTU Pre-buttal

Tim Phillips, president of the Koch Brothers-funded conservative group, Americans For Prosperity, went after Obama this evening for excerpts of his remarks released ahead of the State of the Union address that promised not to increase the deficit.

"Much has changed in the last four years; the President has apparently abandoned his original promise of cutting the deficit in half, and is now promising to not raise the deficit. This is hardly reassuring given the past four years of trillion dollar deficits, and certainly doesn't even hint at actually reducing runaway government spending," Phillips said in a statement e-mailed to ABC News. "If we ever hope to get the economy going again, we need serious spending cuts to end these job-killing deficits. Promises to not make the problem worse just aren't going to cut it."

A popular Tea Party tweeter also wasn't buying it.

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7:11 p.m.: - Ted Nugent: 'Gun Control is What Every Murderer Loves'

(Image Credit: Randy Snyder/Getty Images)

ABC Radio's Steve Portnoy reports:

Donning a camouflage cowboy hat and jeans, Nugent comes to the Capitol tonight at the invitation of Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas.

"[Stockman] knew that the State of the Union would be stacked with pawns, with friends of the president, and a lot of props to further the president's anti-American agenda," Nugent told ABC News in Stockman's office Tuesday, explaining he accepted the invitation "to counter the stacked deck."

Nugent said he sympathizes with the victims of gun violence who he'll be joining in the House visitor's gallery, some of whom earlier Tuesday tearfully urged congress to act.

"Our hearts are broken every time there's a victim of violent crime in this country," Nugent said. But, he argues, the overwhelming majority of violent crimes in the US "are committed by violent criminals let out of their cages."

He excoriated the president and other administration officials for suggesting that they have a solution to the country's gun violence problem, accusing them of incompetence.

"Somehow the gun-running attorney general and the Chicago ACORN community organizer come from an area where it's the murder capital. Their dream of a 'gun-free zone' already exists, and there's more murders in those gun-free zones than in any of the gun-infested territories that I hang out in."

Nugent says further measures to curb the sale of certain types of guns, or high capacity magazines, simply won't work.

"It is a lie, it is a scam, it is counterproductive. Gun control is what every murderer loves, because then he can murder without anyone shooting back. How dare you want more Chicagoes when you can have more Wacos?"

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6:58 p.m.: - Rubio Records Spanish State of the Union Rebuttal

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6:40 p.m. - The Right Thing to Do

Back in June, ABC's Jilian Fama took a look at one of President Obama's favorite phrases: "Do the right thing."

Doing the right thing seems to be hard for everyone, except President Obama. He always seems to know the "right thing to do." Indeed, he uses his presidential remarks to instruct the American people on the right thing to do over and over again.

At the NALEO conference June 22, Obama touted that passing health care legislation was the "right thing to do." He issued a statement claiming "after a century of trying, we finally passed reform that will make health care affordable and available for every American. "Then, as if once weren't enough, he joyously declared three times, "That was the right thing to do. That was the right thing to do. That was the right thing to do."

Read more from Fama here.

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6:30 p.m. - 8 State of the Union Promises Obama Made

ABC's Chris Good takes a look at past State of the Union speeches and makes note of whether Obama kept the vows he made to the nation.

1. Cut the Deficit in Half. Obama in 2009: "Yesterday, I held a fiscal summit where I pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term in office."

Did it happen?

No. In 2009, the Office of Management and Budget estimated a deficit of $1.4 trillion. In 2013, it projects a deficit of $900 billion.

Read the rest from Good here.

6:01 p.m. - Rand Paul to Tell Dems and GOP to Stop 'Protecting Their Sacred Cows'

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., previewed his response to the president's speech hours before Obama was scheduled to take the podium with two excerpts on Facebook.

His first focused on immigration reform:

"We are the party that embraces hard work and ingenuity, therefore we must be the party that embraces the immigrant who wants to come to America for a better future. We must be the party who sees immigrants as assets, not liabilities. We must be the party that says, 'If you want to work, if you want to become an American, we welcome you."

His second attacked his colleagues' spending habits:

"Both parties have been guilty of spending too much, of protecting their sacred cows, of backroom deals in which everyone up here wins, but every taxpayer loses. It is time for a new bipartisan consensus. It is time Democrats admit that not every dollar spent on domestic programs is sacred. And it is time Republicans realize that military spending is not immune to waste and fraud."

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5:08 p.m. - Victims of Gun Violence Wear Ribbon with Newtown Colors

(Image Credit: John Parkinson/ABC News)

ABC's John Parkinson reports at least 40 victims of gun violence plan to attend tonight's speech in Washington. They won't likely be sitting together, but they will be distinguishable by the green and silver ribbons handed out to them by Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., staff. Green and silver are the colors of Newtown High School.

Read more about Rep. Langevin's SOTU plan here.

At 5:45 p.m. Parkinson reports there are three more victims of gun violence now expected to attend, bringing the total number to 43.

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5:01 p.m. - Tune in to at 9 p.m. for the 2013 State of the Union Address.

And in the meantime, brush up on what to watch for below:

Obama Will Hasten Afghanistan Drawdown - Halve American Troops in One Year -

A faster pace than expected - (Karl and Martinez)

7 Things Obama Always Says at #SOTU - 1. Education: Let's improve it! 2. 'Clean Energy.' 3. Some Kind of Tax Credit. 4. Shrink Our 'Deficit of Trust.' 5. America, and Specific Americans, Are the Best. 6. Investment. 7. China, India, and Germany.

More on that, with citations and explanations from Chris Good -

Jon Karl's Preview -

In contrast to his inaugural address, President Obama's State of the Union speech will focus primarily on jobs and the economy, outlining new initiatives on manufacturing, education, clean energy and infrastructure.

Boehner - Obama Lacks 'The Guts' to Make Tough Choices -

A feisty House Speaker John Boehner (who will sit behind President Obama tonight) said this morning that he doesn't believe President Obama "has the guts" to make the tough choices to address the government's mounting deficit problem. (Jon Karl)

The Audience - Gun Rights Advocates vs. Ted Nugent -

Keep an eye out for gun control advocates wearing green ribbons and, wearing a goatee and maybe a cowboy hat, gun rights advocate Ted Nugent, who will be in attendance -

Marco Rubio SOTU Response: Latin Symbol for GOP -

Delivering the GOP response to the president's State of the Union address tonight, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., becomes the face of the Republican Party. (Jim Avila) More on "The Rubio Factor" from Fusion's Jordan Fabian -

Rubio's Competition -

Cliff's Notes on the last 4 Republican responders - Bobby Jindal, Bob McDonnell, Mitch Daniels and Paul Ryan -

The Senate Passed the Violence Against Women Act Today -

Will the House follow suit? - From Fusion's Emily DeRuy - A bill aimed at preventing domestic violence might sound reasonably uncontroversial, but House Republicans have voiced their opposition to some of the provisions, including one that would allow American Indian authorities to prosecute non-American Indians in tribal courts. The original 1994 act expired in 2011 and a divided Congress failed to reauthorize it last year. Republicans, reeling from a poor performance with women and minorities during the November election, have been more receptive this time around. The bill would grant more than $650 million over five years to states and local governments to provide things like transitional housing and legal assistance to victims. The hang-up is in the details of the bill.

The State of the Union is… "…second opportunity for the president to … talk to the 48 or 9 percent of the people that didn't support him." (Tom Cole) "…going to have to focus on public education (Michelle Rhee) "…in a difficult state for working class families…" - (Keith Ellison) "…still pretty bad." - (Paul Krugman) "mixed." How's the Speech? 'We'll Find Out Tonight,' Obama Says -

Taking a break from speech prep this afternoon, President Obama sounded confident about his State of the Union address but offered reporters little in the way of a preview. (Mary Bruce)

#SOTU Pulse Check - ABC Poll Shows Americans Unhappy With System Overall, But Obama's Policies Beat Out GOP's -

As politicians ponder the state of the union, the union's looking back at the state of politics. And it's none too thrilled. (Greg Holyk poll)

Obama to Announce 34,000 Troop Afghanistan Drawdown This Year -

President Obama will announce at Tuesday night's State of the Union address that 34,000 troops - more than half of those currently serving in the combat region - will be back from Afghanistan a year from tonight, according to a source familiar with the speech.

Gun Violence Victims Offer Opposing Views on Solutions in Senate Hearing-

Two people who lost family members to gun violence offered a Senate Judiciary subcommittee opposite positions today on the best way to solve the problem, one saying if she'd been able to carry a gun legally she could have stopped the shooter while the other said more restrictions are needed to keep guns out of criminals' hands. (Arlette Saenz)

Proposed Constitutional Amendment Claims Money Is Not Speech -

Corporations, like people, have a constitutional right to spend money on U.S. elections. That's what the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010. (Jilian Fama)

Changes In the Constitution Experts Would Like to Make -

The Constitution has held the United States government together for more than 200 years with remarkably few changes - there have been only 27 ratified amendments in part because it is such a difficult process. (Alisa Wiersema)

State Of The Union: Guns, Jobs, #SOTU (The Note): The State of the Union is…

… all over the map. (Michael Falcone)

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

"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." (Arlette Saenz)

Paralyzed Rep. to Showcase Gun Victims at State of the Union -

Rep. Jim Langevin smiles in his congressional office as he confidently demonstrates the robotics of his wheelchair, popping upright on the front two wheels of his iBOT 4000 to bring himself eye-to-eye with ABC News' chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl. (John Parkinson)

Anti-'Amnesty' Activists Prepared for Immigration Fight -

The forces that helped to bring down a proposed sweeping overhaul of the U.S. immigration system in 2007 are quietly mobilizing to do the same again. (Devin Dwyer)

2013 State of the Union: What Has Changed Since 2012?

In these new circumstances his rhetoric is likely to change but the topics won't. (Sarah Parnass)

David Walker SOTU OpEd -

The current state of the union is mixed. While we are a great country, the largest economy, and the world's leading democracy, we face serious challenges that threaten our collective future. (David Walker)

Curated by ABC's Z. Byron Wolf and Sarah Parnass