President Obama will talk about the importance of cutting the deficit in his State of the Union address tonight, but he’s unlikely to endorse any specific steps for doing so, administration sources tell the Washington Post. In particular, Obama has explicitly assured Democratic lawmakers and advocates for the elderly that he won’t be endorsing his deficit commission’s controversial recommendations to raise the Social Security retirement age or cut benefits.
Polls show that most Americans oppose Social Security cuts—even in households that consider themselves part of the Tea Party. Administration officials caution such cuts aren’t off the table entirely. But Obama will want bipartisan cover before he endorses any painful policies, Democratic lawmakers said. That approach doesn’t sit well with everyone. “If the president wasn’t willing to embrace these sorts of changes, he shouldn’t have appointed a commission to find solutions,” says one balanced budget advocate. “What did he expect?” (Read more Barack Obama stories.)