Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
January 23rd, 2011
07:19 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

With a congressional showdown looming over federal spending and debt, President Barack Obama is preparing to lay out his agenda for the year in Tuesday night's State of the Union address. The president said in a videotaped preview that he isn't finished with the speech yet, but creating jobs and economic growth will be topic No. 1. Here's a look at this and some of the other stories we plan to follow this week:

Obama to address jobs, debt in State of the Union speech

Obama will be making his second State of the Union address, and his first since Democrats lost control of the U.S. House as a result of November's elections. In his video preview posted to YouTube, the president acknowledged the challenging economic times, calling the past two years "as tough as anything we've gone through since the Great Depression." He said the speech's main topic would be spurring the economy, and he  also addressed the need to "deal with our deficits and our debt in a responsible way" and make government "leaner and smarter."

In a break with tradition, some lawmakers are planning to sit next to colleagues from the opposing party as a symbolic gesture of bipartisanship. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who will sit next to Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, said one benefit he hoped for was fewer automatic standing ovations by Democrats for the Democratic president, and fewer ovations by Republicans  for any right-leaning proposal Obama might endorse.

After the speech, the House Republicans' point man on spending cuts, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, is scheduled to deliver the GOP's response to Obama's address. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, is expected to post her own response on the Tea Party Express' website.

Obama will take his message on the road on Wednesday, when he will give a speech in Wisconsin.

"O" scheduled for release

A high-profile political book is due for release on the same day as the State of the Union address. The anonymously penned "O" - believed to be based on the Obama White House and written by someone with personal experience with the 44th president - is scheduled to be released by Simon & Schuster on Tuesday. (We previously reported that another book, "Known and Unknown," a memoir from former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, also was due to be published Tuesday. That book is now scheduled for release February 8, according to Penguin Group imprint Sentinel.)

Lebanese president, parliament discussing new prime minister

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman on Monday is expected to resume consultations with the parliament over whom to make the next prime minister - a move necessitated by the government's collapse when members of the Hezbollah movement and its allies resigned their ministerial posts.

They did so in part because the government wouldn't denounce a U.N.-backed tribunal's investigation of the 2005 assassination of the father of Prime Minister Saad Hariri. That investigation  is expected to soon result in the indictment of Hezbollah members. If Lebanon's governing crisis cannot be settled, fears are that the Middle Eastern nation - no stranger to sectarian strife - could see more bloodshed. One potential kingmaker, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt,  threw his support behind those who oppose the tribunal last week.

Protesters decrying Tunisia's new short-term government

Tunisia will be a country to watch this week, with protesters decrying a new short-term government formed in the wake of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's ouster. Protesters have called the interim government a sham and demanded that officials with connections to the old guard be fired. Ben Ali was ousted in a rebellion a week ago following weeks of protests over what discontented Tunisians said were poor living conditions, high unemployment, government corruption and repression. More than 100 people have been killed in protests over the past five weeks, the United Nations said.

Business, political leaders gathering for World Economic Forum

How to go about recovering from the global economic crisis will be on the agenda at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.  Business and political leaders will meet from Wednesday to Sunday to discuss strategies.  Critics have suggested the forum is little more than schmoozing among the political and business elite in a luxurious environment, but CNN's Paul Armstrong writes that the high-profile event gives oxygen to some issues of interest to everyone. Last year, French President Nicolas Sarkozy used his keynote address to call for an overhaul of the capitalist system; former U.S. President Bill Clinton used a special session to highlight the problems faced by earthquake-ravaged Haiti, and high-profile delegates promoted philanthropic endeavors. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune senior editor at large, has a pre-Davos primer.

Arraignment Monday for Tucson shooting suspect

A suspect in the January 8 Arizona shooting that killed six people and wounded 13 others - including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords - is due in court Monday for an arraignment on federal charges. Jared Lee Loughner, accused of shooing the 19, was charged last week with three counts of attempted murder for allegedly trying to kill Giffords and two of her aides, Ron Barber and Pamela Simon. Legal experts said that more federal charges against Loughner are likely. Giffords, who was shot in the head, was transferred last week from an Arizona hospital to a Texas hospital, where she is to undergo rehabilitation.

How much did U.S. economy grow in 2010's final three months?

The U.S. government on Friday is expected to report the country's fourth-quarter gross domestic product. The report is expected to show the U.S. economy grew at an annual pace of about 3.8% - up from the third-quarter pace of 2.6%. Many economists argue that a higher rate is needed to dramatically reduce the country's unemployment rate. This week also is expected to be a significant one for corporate earnings news, with nearly half of the companies in the Dow Jones industrial average expected to report. McDonald's, 3M, Boeing and United Technologies are among the companies expected to report their quarterly earnings this week.

Oscar nominations on Tuesday

Award season is well under way, with the  "The Social Network" taking the "best motion picture – drama" award at the Golden Globes last week. On Tuesday, we'll learn the nominations for the Academy Awards. We'll have the news at 8:30 a.m. ET, when the nominations are announced.

Belief Blog: Group that opposed Islamic center advocating for mosque construction

CNN’s Belief Blog this week will tell the story of how a group that opposed the construction of an Islamic center near ground zero has since become a key advocate for mosque construction projects across the country that are facing local opposition. Also, on Tuesday, a young Christian author will make the case that Christians should rethink sex - and abandon what he calls the chastity cult.

Eatocracy: Debi Mazar talks relationship, food

Our Eatocracy blog this week will have an interview with "Entourage" actress Debi Mazar and her husband, Gabriele Corcos - hosts of the new Cooking Channel show "Extra Virgin." The couple will talk about how food fuels a relationship. Eatocracy also will have a first-hand account of the clever kitchen acrobatics needed by a 4-foot-2-inch cook in a full-sized home kitchen; the insane tests one has to take to become a waiter at a top New York City restaurant; what chefs think of "foodie" diners; and a recap of the Cochon 555 heirloom pig cooking contest.

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soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Nikki

    What i said had nothing to do with Obama's name and you know that much. The whole arguement about him having links to or being a muslim wasnt even thought about when i commented. And i agree with Sevan who said: "Most blacks and hispanics always vote Democratic." P.S. dont let your cloak catch on fire at the next cross burning, im sure those hoods with the eye holes are hard to see out of.

    January 24, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar


    January 24, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
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