Media Advisory: Experts available

What must President Obama say in his State of the Union Address to raise confidence in his leadership and calm the fears of an uneasy nation?

Before and after his speech Tuesday night, political, communication and business experts from Wake Forest University are available to share their insights on what the President must emphasize to…


Sherry Jarrell, an expert in economics and finance says “mom and pop” shop owners want to hear how the Obama administration plans to support and sustain small businesses. “If a recovery is underway, it is because of the small business owner,” Jarrell says. “Growth begins with support for this backbone of our economy. Local businessmen and women will be tuned in to words such as ‘tax breaks,’ ‘tort reform’ and ‘regulatory reform.’ Consumer confidence and an economic turnaround depend on whether Obama can convince small business owners they can plan for the future, she says.


Allan Louden, professor of political communication, says State of the Union addresses don’t have the shelf life they used to, ever since the 24/7 news cycle provided access to so much information and the President himself on a minute-by-minute basis. Louden says State of the Union addresses have become glorified platforms rooted in history that today – particularly in an election year – serve more as a campaign building block than a real opportunity to emphasize key issues and provide real updates. “Now, if the President used the speech to tell Congress what he really thinks, that’s likely to have more impact,” Louden adds.


David Coates, Worrell Chair in Anglo-American Studies and author of Making the Progressive Case Towards a Stronger U.S. Economy says the State of the Union presents President Obama with a focused opportunity to move swing voters from center to left if he emphasizes three things:

1.     No more foreclosures – Help homeowners underwater on their mortgages/unemployed to stay in their homes.

2.     Job creation now – Enact a significant tax subsidy to every small- and medium-size business adding workers to their payroll.

3.     Education, not speculation – Tax speculative financial transactions and excessive bank bonuses, explicitly to fund the re-employment by cash-strapped states of the teachers, cops and firefighters whose jobs have been cut.

Coates also thinks proposing a public works program – modeled after FDR’s New Deal – would help to bring employment directly to what otherwise might become a lost generation of Americans now in their twenties.

Kimberly McGrath,, 336.758.3209

Stephanie Skordas,, 336.758.3826

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