President Barack Obama will travel to Prince George’s County Maryland; Pittsburgh; Milwaukee; and Nashville in the next week to talk about proposals outlined in Tuesday's State of the Union address.
In an email to supporters Saturday, senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Obama will lay out "a set of real, concrete, practical proposals to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class, and empower all who hope to join it."
Obama opens his sixth year with some of the worst job approval ratings since he took office and with a bitterly divided Congress already turning much of its focus to the November election.
The White House will use the high-profile speech to try anew for momentum for the president’s agenda – and perhaps his legacy – as he declares 2014 a “year of action” with or without congressional support.
Tens of millions are expected to watch the 9 p.m. EST address, which Obama will deliver from the U.S. Capitol.
Obama is expected to make the widening income gap between rich and poor a centerpiece of his speech, calling on lawmakers to restore jobless benefits for 1.3 million long-term unemployed Americans, expand preschool initiatives and boost the federal minimum wage.
After he returns to Washington, he will outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed, the White House says.
"The core idea is as American as they come: If you work hard and play by the rules, you should have the opportunity to succeed,'" Pfeiffer wrote. "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."
In recent weeks, Obama has made it clear he plans to go it alone when he can’t get congressional buy-in, using the power of the White House – a “pen” to sign executive orders and a “phone” to rally support.
"The president will seek out as many opportunities as possible to work with Congress in a bipartisan way," Pfeiffer wrote. "But when American jobs and livelihoods depend on getting something done, he will not wait for Congress."