More than two months after his deficit commission first laid out a plan for reining in the national debt, President Obama has yet to embrace any of its controversial provisions - and he is unlikely to break that silence Tuesday night.
While Obama plans to stress the need to reduce record budget deficits in his State of the Union address, he is not expected to get into the details and will instead call for members of both parties to work together to tackle the problem, according to congressional and administration sources.
Democratic lawmakers said that approach makes sense as the White House begins a delicate dance with resurgent Republicans over government spending, tax reform and the other difficult issues that will shape the debate into the 2012 presidential campaign. Until Republicans signal a willingness to work with Democrats to raise taxes as well as cut spending, the lawmakers said, it would be a mistake for Obama to endorse painful policies that could become the target of political attack.
"Reaching agreement requires both sides to demonstrate a willingness to compromise. He's going to want everyone to show their hand at the same time," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, who has discussed strategy with the White House.