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Place your bets: In what way will Obama’s final SOTU speech be ‘non-traditional’?

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By Doug Powers  •  December 18, 2015 03:56 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

The year before Barack Obama took office he pledged to “fundamentally transform” the United States, so his final State of the Union speech can’t be ordinary or it’d be like admitting mission failure. Get ready for a “non-traditional” SOTU speech:

The White House is promising President Barack Obama will deliver a “non-traditional” State of the Union address next month, eschewing the standard litany of policy proposals for a broader discussion on the challenges facing the country.

The format reflects the legislative reality for Obama’s final year in office. Much of what the White House and the Republican-led Congress could realistically achieve in an election year is already underway, including discussions on criminal justice reform, and the ticking clock on Obama’s presidency leaves little time to jumpstart major new initiatives.

The president is scheduled to deliver his last State of the Union on Jan. 12, less than three weeks before Americans begin voting in the presidential primaries.

In a briefing for reporters Thursday, White House officials said Obama’s agenda for his last year in office includes securing congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, additional steps to address climate change, and bolstering gun control measures.

They had me at “final year in office.”

But what’s the White House mean by a “non-traditional” SOTU? Will the speech be delivered from the 18th green at the Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course on Oahu? No pants on Biden? A cameo from Bill Ayers? Paul Ryan sitting on Obama’s lap? Place your bets!

**Written by Doug Powers

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