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.
"It will reflect our shared interests in the following areas: advancing a comprehensive nuclear agenda to strengthen the nonproliferation regime, reduce global stockpiles and secure nuclear materials," Biden said.
Confirmation hearings for Obama's nominees to become defense secretary and CIA director have also raised issues that appear to demand the president's acknowledgment, including how to keep the country safe with pending budget cuts at the Department of Defense, flashpoints in the Middle East and new war technologies, namely drones.
Aides say he will touch on many of those issues.