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Obama to stress jobs, Afghan war troop withdrawal

Tuesday - 2/12/2013, 2:30pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Tonight's State of the Union address will reflect President Barack Obama's focus on nation-building at home.

He will use the speech to call for more spending on infrastructure and manufacturing. And he will also announce the withdrawal of 34,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan within a year.

That will cut the size of the U.S. troop presence there in half by next February -- putting the U.S. on pace to formally end the war there by the end of next year.

That won't be the only foreign policy issue Obama will mention tonight. In the aftermath of the latest North Korean nuclear test today, an aide says Obama will make the case that the North's nuclear program has only served to further isolate that country.

Obama is expected to spend the bulk of his time tonight on the economy and job creation. The economic blueprint he will discuss will have many of the elements Americans have heard before -- embracing manufacturing, energy development and education.

And as he speaks, many of the faces looking down from the House galleries will be those of Americans who've been thrust into the politics of gun violence.

First lady Michelle Obama will sit with the parents of a Chicago teen who was shot and killed just days after she performed at the president's inauguration. And Republican congressman Steve Stockman says he's invited rocker ted Nugent, a long-time gun control opponent.

%@AP Links

164-c-20-(Mark Smith, AP White House correspondent)-"by treaty obligations"-AP White House Correspondent Mark Smith reports President Obama will talk about North Korea's nuclear defiance in tonight's State of the Union speech. (12 Feb 2013)

<> 00:20 "by treaty obligations"

172-w-36-(Mark Smith, AP White House correspondent, with Valerie Jarrett, Obama senior advisor)--President Obama is preparing to deliver an economy-focused State of the Union speech that kicks off his second term. AP White House Correspondent Mark Smith reports. (12 Feb 2013)

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166-c-21-(Mark Smith, AP White House correspondent)-"war is ending"-AP White House Correspondent Mark Smith reports President Obama is using tonight's State of the Union speech to announce plans for the next phase of the Afghanistan pullout. (12 Feb 2013)

<> 00:21 "war is ending"

APPHOTO WHCD102: President Barack Obama waves as he walks down the West Wing Colonnade of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, ahead of tonight's State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (12 Feb 2013)

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