President Barack Obama meets with four people who wrote letters to the White House ahead of his State of the Union address. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Ahead of Tuesday (January 20) night's State of the Union address, Obama had an unannounced meeting with four people who wrote letters to the White House. Carolyn Reed of Denver, Rebekah Erler of Minneapolis, Victor Fugate of Kansas City, and Katrice Mubiru of Woodland Hills, California, will all be guests of First Lady Michelle Obama, Tuesday evening. Reed, a small business owner wrote to the president to explain how a loan from the Small Business Administration made it possible for her to expand her Silver Mine Subs shop chain. Obama met with Erler, a married 36-year-old accountant with two pre-school-aged boys, in Minnesota during a recent visit after reading her letter which detailed the challenges facing working parents. Erler was able to re-enter the marketplace after completing courses in accounting at a local community college. Erler and her husband recently purchased their first home. Fugate, who was once unemployed but now works for Missouri's Department of Mental Health, described how the Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature legislation, helped him obtain health coverage when he was between jobs. Mubiuru, a technical education teacher, urged Obama in her letter to support programs that make courses in technology accessible to both teenagers and adults. For Obama, seeking to burnish his legacy with two years left in office, the speech will be his best opportunity of the year to talk to millions of Americans watching on television about the improved economy six years into his tenure, which began with the Democrat facing a crippling financial crisis. Obama has said he wants to reach out to Republicans who support trade deals with Asia and Europe that his administration has pursued, over the objections of some of his fellow Democrats. He could push for fast-track trade negotiating authority in his speech at 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT Wednesday).