State Of The Union: A Background Battle

Well placed Democratic Party sources tell Fox News that beyond the usual SOTU battles - over which programs and agencies should receive mention, and at what length - the run-up to tonight's SOTU witnessed an internal schism that was focused on the overall emphasis of the speech, and which showcased how firmly Bill Daley is now in command at the Obama White House.

The sources say Daley prevailed in an internal battle that divided along these lines: Some players, including David Axelrod, argued that the president should focus more on what he is doing right now to alleviate the pain of the unemployment numbers. But others, like Daley and Gene Sperling, argued that - absent another, immediate stimulus measure that he couldn't get through Congress anyway - there isn't much the president can actually do to alleviate the jobs numbers right now; that they are looking at an 8 percent unemployment rate in 2012, anyway; and that therefore the president should try to appear forward-looking, establish a business-friendly tone, and delineate that which the government can/should do (infrastructure, education "investments") and that which business can/should do (R-and-D, job creation). That is what Daley wanted, and that is what we will get.

Asked where Valerie Jarrett had weighed in, this source told Fox News Jarrett is "increasingly not seen as a serious player in the business community."

However, Jarrett has in the past played a pivotal role in the administration's interface with corporate America, and could be seen making television appearances Tuesday to heighten interest in the president's address.

Another, albeit smaller, internal battle was focused on whether the president should include the proposed two-year extension on the three-year freeze on discretionary spending. Those in the more liberal camp of the West Wing expressed concern about the "significant cuts" this will mean in favored domestic programs.

One source suggested the internal divisions had less to do with ideology than with the fact that Daley, having recently taken over as chief of staff, was determined to put his stamp on plans for the SOTU address that others had crafted over the last four months.

James Rosen joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 1999 and is the network’s chief Washington correspondent.