President Obama, no longer handcuffed by worries about vulnerable red-state Democratic senators, has been putting Republicans on their back foot.
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The GOP hoped Obama would be humbled by the midterm elections that saw Democrats swept from power in the Senate.
Instead, when Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress completely controlled by the GOP on Tuesday, Republicans will see a confident Obama who is bullish about his own approval ratings and no longer worried about anyone else’s reelection.
The GOP will be defending 24 Senate seats in 2016, compared to 10 for Democrats. This includes GOP senators in states Obama has previously carried, such as Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.
This is a reversal from 2014, when Obama repeatedly calibrated his political messaging for vulnerable Senate Democrats running in deep-red states such as Arkansas, Alaska and Louisiana, where incumbent Democrats fell in November.