By Tracey Webb [twitter-follow screen_name='WebbWriterguru']
Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, January 24, 2014.
1. SOTU speech preview. President Obama is expected to lay out his agenda for the next year in his State of the Union address Tuesday. Will he ask Congress for help and if so, is he likely to get it? "The president's very clear that he will work with Congress where Congress is willing to work with him, but where Congress refuses to move forward and cooperate on common-sense ideas to help the economy, help the middle class, he's going to use every power that he has to advance, " said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. What can the President realistically get done? We'll talk with White House Adviser Dan Pfeiffer this Sunday on State of the Union.
2. SOTU preps and motherhood. She has three young children, including a two-month-old, but the Congresswoman tapped to deliver the Republican Party's response to the President's speech is making it known that she's a master multitasker. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers posted a photo to her Instagram account Friday. She wrote, "I've got my #SOTU remarks in one hand and 2-month old Brynn in another. It really doesn't get much better than this!" McMorris-Rodgers is the House GOP's highest-ranking woman and is the first lawmaker to give birth to three children while serving in Congress.
3. Security in Sochi. Russia insists it is prepared to keep the Winter Olympic games safe from a terrorist attack. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says Moscow hasn't requested any assistance from the United States, but the U.S. is ready to take matters into its own hands if Americans attending the games are threatened. "We have had conversations with the Russian government on the protection of our citizens of course – if we need to extract our citizens we will have appropriate arrangements with the Russian to do it," Hagel said. We'll talk about safety at the Winter Olympics with Russia's Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak on State of the Union Sunday.
4. RNC: Change is on the way. The Republican Party's 2016 presidential nominating process will be shorter and its convention earlier. The changes, approved Friday by the Republican National Committee, mean the party's next national convention will be in June. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus says the measures "put Republican voters, not the liberal media, in the driver's seat." Priebus also urged Republicans to be more thoughtful about their language when arguing the party's positions. "As we look to grow the ranks of our party we must all be very conscious of tone and choice of words," Priebus said. His remarks came one day after former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee mentioned women's "libido" in a speech at the party's winter meeting.
5. Income inequality. Most Americans believe the income divide between the rich and everyone else has gotten wider. A new Pew poll finds that 65% believe income inequality has grown over the last 10 years. When asked what should be done to reduce poverty, 54% favored raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations in order to expand programs to help the poor, while 35% said lowering taxes to encourage investment and economic growth. The survey also found a partisan gap in how to address the wealth divide. 90% of Democrats said the government should take action, while only 45% of Republicans favored a government solution.