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Blunt, McCaskill Share Expectations for President's Thursday Night Speech

Thursday evening, many Americans will tune into President Barack Obama’s speech about the nation’s slow economic recovery.  KSMU’s Jennifer Moore heard from both of Missouri’s senators about what they hope to hear from the president.

Members of Congress are back in Washington, D.C. this week, and their focus is getting America’s fiscal house in order before the end of the year.  But Thursday night, all eyes in Congress will be on the president…that’s because he’ll give the speech in the House of Representatives before a joint session of Congress.

And Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican, says the fact that he’s chosen that venue raises the bar as far as expectations go.

“I think the pressure on the president to really come up with something new in that speech is much greater than it would have been if he would have decided to come out with those same job proposals at a manufacturing facility somewhere, or as Mitt Romney did earlier this week, at a truck body shop,” Blunt said to reporters on a conference call Wednesday.

Blunt says from what he’s heard so far, it doesn’t sound like there will be much new, but he said he’s trying to reserve judgment until after the speech.

Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill said she feels the president is in a tight spot, because it’s hard to come up with a giant jobs program without spending any money. She said she hopes the president’s plan will be “revenue neutral,” meaning that it won’t add to the deficit, but will be significant enough to help in this slow recovery.

She also said she hopes he talks about bipartisanship. 

“I think he needs to be brutally honest with the country, that compromise has become a concept that is no longer en vogue in Washington, and Washington only works through compromise.  I would like the American people to understand that the extreme voices that have become credible over the last few months, and the last year, are not the way that we’re gonna find common ground,” McCaskill said.

Live coverage of the president’s speech will begin on KSMU at 6:00 Thursday evening.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.