President Barack Obama typically gives the talk, focusing on a topic that’s in the news or a policy the White House is pushing.
This week, Obama has asked Francine Wheeler to deliver the address instead. Wheeler and her husband, David, lost their 6-year-old son Ben in the December schoolhouse shooting in Newtown, Conn.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says Obama believes the voices of Newtown families have been critical to progress on gun control. The families have been in Washington lobbying members of Congress. The Senate cleared its first hurdle for gun control legislation on Thursday and will consider expanded background checks next week.