Ex-Cuba Prisoner, CVS Boss Among Michelle's Guests President preps for State of the Union amid healthier poll numbers By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Jan 19, 2015 11:16 AM CST 21 comments Comments Alan Gross, facing camera, is hugged by Tim Rieser, an aide to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Dec. 17, 2014, at Andrews Air Force Base upon his arrival from Cuba. Gross' wife, Judy, is at left. (AP Photo/Jill Zuckman) (Newser) – President Obama goes into tomorrow's State of the Union address with some momentum: A Washington Post-ABC News poll finds his approval rating now stands at 50%, which is the highest since spring 2013; improving views on the economy are a big factor, the Post reports. Meanwhile, the White House has released a list of Michelle Obama's guests for the event—a list that likely offers a preview of some of the issues the president will address. Among those guests, per Politico and USA Today: Alan Gross, a US subcontractor, was recently freed from five years of detention in Cuba; he rejoined his wife, Judy, the day President Obama announced warming relations with Cuba. Larry Merlo is CEO of CVS Health, which recently stopped selling tobacco products. Pranav Shetty led a pair of Ebola treatment units in Liberia, the White House says. Ana Zamora is one of a number of guests who caught the president's attention through letters. She's a student who has benefited from Obama administration programs to ease restrictions on migrants who arrived in the US as kids. Scott Kelly is an astronaut who's about to spend a year aboard the International Space Station; the work is aimed at helping send people to Mars "by the 2030s," per the White House. Malik Bryant is another letter writer. For Christmas, the boy from Chicago wrote to Santa Claus: "All I ask for is for safety I just wanna be safe." His letter made it to the president. Click for the full list.