ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: U.S. President Barack Obama challenges a divided Congress on Tuesday to back his proposals to create jobs for the middle class and produce a smarter, not bigger, government in a State of the Union speech that will lay out his second-term agenda.
Obama addresses to a joint session of Congress at a time when he is again locked in a bitter battle with Republicans over taxes and spending, and this tussle will cast a heavy shadow over his appearance.
"We gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded," he said. "Our economy is adding jobs - but too many people still can't find full-time employment. Corporate profits have rocketed to all-time highs - but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.
"It is our generation's task, then, to reignite the true engine of America's economic growth - a rising, thriving middle class," he said.
"It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country - the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love," he added.
Obama's speech marks a renewed focus on the U.S. economy as he tries to satisfy American worries about a stubbornly high unemployment rate of 7.9 percent.
Obama focuses on economy in State of the Union (1:36)
Feb. 12 - U.S. President Obama targets economy and middle class jobs in State of the Union Address. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). ( Transcript )