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Unemployment, Immigration to top State of Union

WASHINGTON, DC -- Tonight, President Obama takes part in a ritual required by the constitution. He'll give the State of the Union.
WASHINGTON, DC -- Tonight, President Obama takes part in a ritual required by the constitution.  He'll give the State of the Union.

President Obama is expected to stand before the nation tonight and ask Congress to help him pass his legislative agenda. Creating jobs, an extension of unemployment benefits and immigration reform top the list.

"He will use every means available to him,"  says Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary.

But he's also bringing a warning:  The president is expected to say if Congress won't work with him, then he'll use his executive powers to push his agenda forward.

"Mindful of Congresses reluctance to be cooperative at times, the president is going to exercise his authority," Carney stresses.

Republicans says instead of threatening them, the president should work with them.
"It's hard to convince people to get legislation through. It takes consensus," says Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). "But that's what he needs to be doing is building consensus and not taking his pen and creating law."

The State of the Union isn't just about the President addressing Congress.

"It's become sort of a combination of the opportunity for the president to talk to the country directly and this bizarre Washington ritual filled with gamesmanship and partisanship,"  says Ken Walsh, Chief White House Correspondent for US News and World Report.

President Obama will take his message on the road for a four state-tour starting Wednesday.

CBS News has learned the president will announce tonight that he's using his executive authority to raise the minimum wage for federal workers to $10.10 per hour.

(Susan McGinnis, CBS News)

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