State of the Union set to awaken populism

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will press a politically-divided Congress to approve more tax increases and fewer spending cuts during a State of the Union address focused on stabilizing the middle class and repairing the still-wobbly economy.

The agenda Obama will outline Tuesday before a joint session of Congress will include more money for infrastructure, clean energy technologies, manufacturing jobs and expanding access to early childhood education.

The backdrop for Obama’s address will be a March 1 deadline for averting automatic across-the-board spending cuts. The president wants lawmakers to push that deadline back for a second time to create space for a larger deficit-reduction deal.