Michelle Obama attends slain teen girl's funeral
CHICAGO -- She didn't say anything, but she didn't have to.
First lady Michelle Obama, simply by filing into a church pew on Chicago's South Side on Saturday and mourning the killing of a smiling 15-year-old girl she had never met, spotlighted the everyday gun and gang violence plaguing the nation's cities.
Since being gunned down in Chicago a week after performing with the King College Prep high school's majorette team during President Barack Obama's second inaugural festivities, Hadiya Pendleton has become a symbol for the innocence lost to senseless shootings.
Pendleton's killing resonated far beyond the South Side to the White House, where the Obamas drew parallels between Pendleton and their own daughters.
The first lady, who met privately with Pendleton's family and about 30 of her classmates, did not speak at the funeral, which lasted four hours. But her appearance carried heavy political overtones, coming as the president is pressuring Congress to enact tougher gun laws.
State of the Union could be 'call to action'
WASHINGTON -- A confident President Barack Obama is expected Tuesday to unveil an aggressive agenda in the first State of the Union address of his second term, calling for a rewrite of the nation's outdated immigration laws, steps to prevent gun violence and ways to bolster a still-fragile economy.
Obama starts his second term with job approval ratings among the highest since he took office. But he faces a not-yet-recovered economy, a mounting deficit, an often hostile Congress and a nation increasingly distrustful that polarized, partisan Washington can get anything done.
In many ways, the address serves as a marker for what the president hopes will form his legacy.
After outlining his second-term agenda in an inaugural speech last month that infuriated Republicans for its full-throated embrace of liberalism, Obama will deliver details of what he wants to accomplish, priorities that include energy independence, education and job creation.