President Barack Obama will focus his State of the Union address Tuesday night on boosting job creation and economic growth at a time of high unemployment.
That shows the degree to which the economy could threaten his ability to pursue second-term priorities such as gun control, immigration policy and climate change.
Obama also may use the prime-time address before Congress to announce the next steps for concluding the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
It will be his second high-profile speech to the nation in about three weeks, after his inaugural address Jan. 21 that opened his second term.
White House aides see the two speeches as complementary, with Tuesday's address aimed at providing specifics to back up some of the Inauguration Day's lofty liberal rhetoric.