Every year, federal judges sentence more than 80,000 criminals. Those punishments are supposed to be fair — and predictable. But seven years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court threw a wrench into the system by ruling that the guidelines that judges use to figure out a prison sentence are only suggestions.
A day after delivering his State of the Union address to Congress, President Obama took his message on the road. Obama hoped that stops at manufacturing sites in Iowa and Arizona would drive home his point that the government should do more to encourage factory jobs.
The three-day trip also includes stops in Colorado, Nevada and Michigan. Those are all states likely to be important in the November election.
Obama kicked off his road trip at Conveyor Engineering and Manufacturing, a factory in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Though millions of Americans watched the televised speech, the president's ostensible audience was right in front of him - Congress. His relations with many Republican lawmakers are icy at best. And even his alliances with Democrats had been put under stress at times in the past year.
The lawmakers' responses to the speech ranged from predictable to somewhat surprised. NPR's Andrea Seabrook listened to lawmakers after the speech.