White House

It was perhaps fitting that the most memorable passage of President Obama's final State of the Union speech should come near its end.

After nearly an hour on the podium, Obama paused and slipped into a mode more suited to a pulpit. In the next few minutes, the president tried to address the state not of the American union but of American politics.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy will be sitting with first lady Michelle Obama during the president's final State of the Union address.

On Tuesday night, President Obama will give his final State of the Union address. It's the last big speech many Americans will watch him deliver, and he wants to leave a good impression.

Here are five things to watch for.

1. How different will this speech be from his past State of the Union addresses?

New Hampshire Primary Now A Race For 2nd Place

Jan 9, 2016

The Republican presidential primary race in New Hampshire is turning into a contest for second place.

With businessman Donald Trump so far ahead in the polls, the other GOP candidates are ratcheting up efforts to win over crucial undecided voters in the next four weeks.

Breaking Out Of The Pack

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This week President Barack Obama announced new executive action to tighten gun control in the United States, but what will the proposed changes mean for Connecticut?

White House

Connecticut lawmakers were given advance notice of President Obama’s executive orders on guns. The Newtown school shooting was referenced several times during Obama's speech and several family members of the victims were in attendance. This week, our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will discuss the president’s action and some recognition by the New York Times on Connecticut’s criminal justice reforms.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy said he applauds President Obama's plan to use executive authority to implement a set of measures aimed at curbing gun violence.

President Barack Obama announced a series of executive actions on Tuesday intended to combat gun violence. His plans would require background checks for guns bought from dealers even if they're purchased online or at gun shows. 

Pete Souza / White House

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy will be on hand when President Barack Obama officially announces his executive action requiring all gun sellers to register as dealers, and other measures to curb gun violence.

President Obama is announcing a series of executive actions intended to combat gun violence, including a regulatory change designed to make it harder for gun buyers to avoid background checks. Obama plans to detail the moves on Tuesday with a statement in the White House East Room.

Pete Souza / The White House

Several members of Connecticut's congressional delegation are among a group of federal lawmakers meeting with President Barack Obama about his executive actions tightening the nation's gun laws.

President Obama is preparing to take executive action on guns soon, after being rebuffed by Congress in his effort to crack down on gun violence.

Gun control advocates say the move could come as early as next week.

"The president has made clear he's not satisfied with where we are and expects that work to be completed soon," said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.

This story was updated at 3 p.m. ET

Two top staffers for Ben Carson's presidential campaign have resigned, an ominous sign for the struggling Republican's White House hopes just a month before voting begins.

Campaign manager Barry Bennett and communications director Doug Watts have both stepped down, something the campaign called "enhancements" to "shift the campaign into a higher gear."

Retired Army Major General Bob Dees will take over as campaign trail while Ed Brookover, former a senior strategists, will be the new campaign manager.

Many Republicans may have sided with Donald Trump's controversial proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., but his rival Jeb Bush predicts that the GOP faithful will eventually oppose the plan and see it his way.

"Trump clearly banning all Muslims would actually be so counterproductive in our efforts to destroy ISIS that it's foolhardy," the former Florida governor told NPR's Steve Inskeep in an interview Wednesday in Boston. "I mean, it's beyond ridiculous; it's quite dangerous."

President Obama wrapped up 2015 by taking another round of questions from the press.

At the traditional end-of-year news conference Friday afternoon, Obama began with a list of achievements, including the legalization of same-sex marriage across America and progress made toward addressing global climate change.

Donkey Hotey / Flickr

Republican presidential hopefuls debate for the first time since the Paris attacks and San Bernardino shootings and national security is on the forefront of national discussion. This hour on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we discuss the latest debate in the long road to the White House. There was more of a clear divide between some candidates, especially surrounding military spending and intelligence gathering.

Republicans took the gloves off for their fifth presidential debate in Las Vegas. Focusing almost entirely on foreign policy and national security, the candidates revealed big divides in how they would handle the threat of terrorism and deal with foreign leaders.

The political atmosphere has shifted considerably since the last Republican presidential debate a month ago, creating a different dynamic ahead of Tuesday evening's GOP face-off in Las Vegas.

President Obama called it "a Christmas miracle. A bipartisan bill signing right here."

The "right here" was the South Court Auditorium, part of the White House complex. More importantly, the bipartisan bill being signed was the Every Student Succeeds Act — a long-overdue replacement of the unpopular federal education law known as No Child Left Behind.

Ron Cogswell / Creative Commons

The national political conversation has shifted to a focus on security, guns, and terrorism. Our weekly political news roundtable The Wheelhouse will discuss the shift and the role Connecticut's congressional delegation has played in the national dialogue.

How does this resonate among Connecticut voters, and how might it affect next year's elections?

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz doesn't want to "get down in the mud and engage in personal insults and attacks" — one reason he has declined to criticize Donald Trump more directly in the wake of Trump's plan to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S.

In an interview Tuesday morning with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep at NPR's Washington headquarters, the GOP presidential candidate explained his own plan to slow immigration from some Muslim countries.

President Obama's request that American Muslims help "root out" and confront extremist ideology in their communities is getting mixed reactions. Muslim leaders say they want to help, but some are not happy that they are being singled out.

sari_dennise / Creative Commons

President Barack Obama is urging Congress to control U.S. gun purchases, including voting for a ban on the sale of guns to people on the terror watch list. 

President Obama used a rare Oval Office address Sunday evening to speak to a worried nation about the evolving threat of terrorism and the growing influence of the Islamic State.

One of the biggest messages the president tried to communicate to the American people was that a fear of terrorist attacks must not translate into a fear of all Muslims and spark unnecessary targeting. But judging by the immediate response after the speech, Obama did little to bridge the partisan divide.

In a prime-time speech from the Oval Office Sunday night, Obama said that the United States would defeat the threat of terrorism — without compromising American values.

Obama began his third Oval Office address by remembering the 14 Americans who died in Wednesday's attack in San Bernardino, California.

In a prime-time speech from the Oval Office, President Obama is scheduled to address the threat of terrorism facing the United States.

Obama will update the country on the investigation into the mass shooting in San Bernardino and also talk about the United States' war against the Islamic State.

President Obama will deliver an Oval Office address on Sunday evening, discussing the San Bernardino attack and the broader issue of terrorism.

The mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., which killed 14 people earlier this week, is currently being investigated by the FBI as an act of terror. The president will provide an update on the ongoing investigation, the White House says.

Inevitably, as news breaks of yet another international or domestic event — an explosion in Texas, a train derailment outside Philadelphia, a Molotov cocktail thrown into a nightclub in Egypt, a shooting in Colorado or California — there's one question never far from Americans' lips: "Is it terrorism?"

Even many who don't want to generalize wonder, "What do we know about the shooter — was he or she Muslim?"

Saying America's military must draw from "the broadest possible pool of talent," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Thursday that women in the U.S. military — including the Army and Marines — can now serve in combat posts.

The formal process to open combat jobs to women began in January of 2013; in finishing that process, Carter acknowledged that in recent years, U.S. women have fought — and sometimes given their lives — in combat posts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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