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President Barack Obama delivers 2014 State of the Union address

The president’s address, delivered before a joint session of Congress and millions of Americans watching on television, marks the opening salvo in a midterm election fight that will quickly consume Washington. Democrats, seeking to cast Republicans as protectors of the rich, have pressed Obama to focus more on issues of economic fairness and shrinking the gap between the wealthy and the poor.

The initiatives Obama planned to unveil Tuesday night were tailored to fit those themes. He was to announce executive action to raise the minimum wage for new federal contracts, help the long-term unemployed find work and expand job-training programs. He also planned to renew his calls for Congress to expand the minimum wage increase to all workers, pass a sweeping immigration overhaul and increase access to early childhood education programs- all initiatives that stalled after Obama first announced them in last year’s State of the Union address.

The Associated Press previewed President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address.