Obama to visit Pittsburgh next week

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will make his way Wednesday to Pittsburgh to expound upon themes he will touch on during Tuesday's State of the Union address.

His visit is part of a four-stop tour that will begin in Prince George's County, Md., and then move on to Pittsburgh before heading to Milwaukee and Nashville, Tenn., both on Thursday. Times and exact locations have not been disclosed.

The White House hasn't said why those locations were chosen but did say the president will emphasize efforts to help the long-term unemployed. Pennsylvania has the fourth-highest number of long-term unemployed workers.

Long-term unemployment benefits lapsed last month when Congress couldn't agree on whether or how to pay for an extension.

Extending those benefits is among the things Mr. Obama is expected to press for in the State of the Union.

"It will be an optimistic speech," White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said in an email to supporters Saturday. "Thanks to the grit and determination of citizens like you, America has a hard-earned right to that optimism."

The core idea of the speech "is as American as they come," Mr. Pfeiffer said. "If you work hard and play by the rules, you should have the opportunity to succeed. Your ability to get ahead should be based on your hard work and ambition and who you want to be, not just the raw circumstance of who you are when you're born."

The State of the Union address can be seen at 9 p.m. Tuesday on major networks or online at whitehouse.gov/sotu.


Washington Bureau Chief Tracie Mauriello: tmauriello@post-gazette.com or 703-996-9292 or on Twitter @pgPoliTweets.

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