Politics

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While U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., clearly has his philosophical and political differences with the president, last night he praised Barack Obama’s plan to embark on a major effort to cure cancer and boost medical research. The president is putting Vice President Joe Biden in charge of what he calls “mission control” of that effort.

Last year, after losing his son Beau to brain cancer, the vice president said that with a “new moonshot” America could cure cancer. The president agrees and made boosting medical research one of the biggest proposals in his speech.  

On Tuesday night, President Obama will give his final State of the Union address. It's the last big speech many Americans will watch him deliver, and he wants to leave a good impression.

Here are five things to watch for.

1. How different will this speech be from his past State of the Union addresses?

President Obama is announcing a series of executive actions intended to combat gun violence, including a regulatory change designed to make it harder for gun buyers to avoid background checks. Obama plans to detail the moves on Tuesday with a statement in the White House East Room.

Ron Richard is about to spend his first full session as president pro-tem of the Missouri Senate.

He was elected to the post by his colleagues in September after Tom Dempsey resigned a year ahead of time, and shepherded the upper chamber through veto session. The Republican from Joplin also served as House Speaker from 2009 to 2010, and is the only elected official in Missouri history to lead both chambers.

Richard sat down recently with St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin and talked about what he hopes to accomplish, and about getting started as president pro-tem:

When the U.S. and Cuba reopened their embassies this year, American businesses started to look for opportunities on the island. They are quickly learning, though, that it will be a tough slog.

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