Economy, not foreign policy, will be focus of State of the Union
February 10th, 2013
03:39 PM ET

Economy, not foreign policy, will be focus of State of the Union

By Jessica Yellin

President Barack Obama has spent large chunks of the last six months dealing with matters of foreign policy, from Benghazi to Afghanistan to drones.

But the topic won’t be the centerpiece of his State of the Union address Tuesday. Administration officials say he’ll focus instead on jobs and the economy, the topics that still rank as the most important for Americans, according to polls.

While Obama won't spend as much time on foreign policy Tuesday as he does on the economy, that isn't unusual. In his last four addresses to Congress, this president spent an average of seven minutes on foreign policy and an average 22 minutes on the economy, according to analyses from the Washington Post and National Journal.

He will address the ongoing drawdown of the American military presence in Afghanistan, and last week Vice President Joe Biden indicated at a security conference in Munich that Obama could talk about his commitment to reducing the stockpile of nuclear weapons around the world.

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February 10th, 2013
11:27 AM ET

Gates: Drone program, while useful, would benefit from more oversight

By CNN's Kevin Liptak

The number of innocent victims of drone strikes remains "extremely small" and doesn't outweigh the benefits of using drones to take out al Qaeda operatives, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates argued Sunday.

But the former Pentagon chief said a better system of checks and balances could be constructive when the unmanned aerial devices are used to target Americans, aligning himself with lawmakers concerned about unfettered power in the hands of the president.

Gates served under George W. Bush during the beginnings of the drone program and later under President Barack Obama as the use of drones spiked. Recently lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, have forcefully questioned the use and oversight of the lethal devices.

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Filed under: drones • Gates