State of the Union: 4 things to look for
When President Obamadelivers his third, and possibly final, State of the Union address Tuesday, will the economy be issue no. 1?

Probably. If past speeches are any indication, the economy will be mentioned early and often.

Economic terms, including "tax," "spend" and "jobs" are among the most frequently used words in recent State of the Union speeches.

In 2009, Obama used the word "economy" a total of 23 times in his unofficial address. In 2010, that number dropped to 15, before falling to 7 mentions last year.

That may reflect the general pace of economic recovery.

In 2009, the economy was hemorrhaging more than 700,000 jobs a month. By early 2010, the economy was starting to add jobs -- a trend that would continue into 2011.

Of course, there is one big difference this time around: It's an election year, and that means nitty-gritty policy proposals might fall by the wayside in favor of lofty political rhetoric.

In anticipation of that eventuality, Republicans are already firing back.

House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday he has been reading a lot about what the president is expected to say Tuesday, and "it sounds to me like ... more spending, higher taxes, more regulations."

"If that's what the president is going to talk about Tuesday night," Boehner said, "I think it's pathetic."

Here's what we'll be listening for:

Income inequality

Late last year, Obama made a trip to Kansas, and presented Americans with a choice: a "fair shot" with him, or a return to "you're on your own economics."

The much ballyhooed speech was delivered in Osawatomie, the same town where Teddy Roosevelt made his case for "New Nationalism" -- a plan for broad social and economic reform -- more than 100 years ago.

In the speech, Obama firmly embraced the rhetoric of income inequality, and laid out a plan to rebuild the middle class.

One big idea: Fairness.

"I'm here to reaffirm my deep conviction that we are greater together than we are on our own," Obama said. "I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules."

And in a video message e-mailed to supporters over the weekend, Obama hinted he would return to that theme.

"We can go in two directions" Obama said. "One is toward less opportunity and less fairness, or we can fight for where I think we need to go."

Look for more of that on Tuesday.