Obama Vows to Go It Alone to 'Expand Opportunity'

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President Barack Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union speech Tuesday. He outlined a vision of "opportunity for all."

But the question is -- who's listening?

On a bitterly cold night, President Obama entered the House Chamber in a precarious position politically.

With his approval numbers at near record lows, Obama explained why he wants to go it alone more often.

President Obama plans to use his executive powers to raise the minimum wage. How will that affect the economy? Bill Frezza, with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, explains this and more, on CBN News Today, Jan. 29.

Watch CBN News Special Coverage below of the State of the Union address, with John Jessup, David Brody, and Jennifer Wishon.

"America does not stand still and neither will I. So, wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families that's what I'm going to do," he said.

And he's already moving.

With the stroke of his executive pen the president plans to help the long-term unemployed, encourage retirement investments, and raise the minimum wage for new federal contractors to $10.10 per hour.

"Because if you cook our troops' meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn't have to live in poverty," Obama said.

"It's troubling because it's a violation of the spirit of the Constitution, if not a violation of the Constitution itself. And it's inappropriate for the leader of the greatest nation on earth to say, 'I'm gonna act on my own whether you like it or not,'" Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., said after hearing the president's speech.

The president presented old and new ideas, but the question is whether or not he's lost his audience.

Coming off a disastrous rollout of Obamacare, the key domestic achievement of his first term, polling shows a majority of Americans lack confidence in the president to make the right decisions.

"They're frustrated because they want more jobs, not more programs, and they want the president and Congress to listen to them more and the NSA to listen to them less," Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., said.

"They're also frustrated because they know you don't fix all the problems with Obamacare by just tweaking some website," Forbes continued.

Anticipating November's midterm elections and acknowledging problems the GOP has faced with female voters, House Republicans picked Rep.Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., to deliver the Republican response.

Th mom from Washington State is the highest ranking woman in the Republican House leadership.

"I'd like to share a more hopeful Republican vision -- one that empowers you, not the government. It's one that champions free markets and trusts people to make their own decisions, not a government that decides for you," Rodgers declared.

While the president's promise to make executive action has irritated some Republicans, there were signals that Congress can work with him in the coming months on tax reform.

"Let's work together to close those loopholes and those incentives to ship jobs overseas and lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs right here at home," Obama said.

The president is spending the rest of the week on the road promoting his vision.

Watch the State of the Union address:

Watch the Republican response:

Watch the Tea Party response:

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Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.