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Behind The Mic With Joe Mathieu: Obama Invokes The Pen And The Phone

By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
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BOSTON (CBS) –  The State of the Union address lasted more than an hour Tuesday night but you can pretty much sum it up in five-words:

The Pen And The Phone.

That’s how the White House refers to two of the most powerful weapons in the executive arsenal. And President Obama is apparently about to get busy with both.

We already know what he can do with the pen. As we discussed Tuesday, he will use it to hike the minimum wage for new federal contractors through an executive order.

And not through Congress.

It’s expected that he will also act unilaterally on the environment with new regulations for coal-fired power plants. Regulations that he could never get through this Congress.

How about the phone?

When the President of the United States calls, people answer. And he’s already made use of this – inviting business leaders, activists and other people of influence to the White House to volunteer on issues. And we will apparently get more of that.

Surely some legislation will move through Congress this year. But the president’s tone is different than in years past as he looks for wiggle room in his final few years.

The use of executive powers is controversial. And many Republicans are criticizing the president’s intentions. Just this morning, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) called it “inappropriate and disrespectful,” when she spoke with WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

But in fact this President has not used executive powers as much as many who came before him.

In fact CBS News Chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer points out the last president to use the powers of the office less than the current president was Grover Cleveland. That was in the late 1800’s.

We’ll see how that record changes in the next three years.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz

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