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About last night: State of the Union includes nods to special interests

by Bill Allison, Caitlin MacNeal and Jake Harper

Yesterday, we posted an item asking if influence data--campaign contributions and lobbying reports--could offer a useful prediction to the content of President Barack Obama's fourth State of the Union address. Did Obama include items on their lobbying agendas? How well did we do?

Reasonably well, we think. Of the ten areas we made predictions, we were right or partially right on eight of them. And in our two misses, we knew we were pretty far out on a limb when we suggested that Obama would suggest bolstering the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to tweak Sheldon Adelson, who along with his wife donated more than $90 million to super PACs what opposed the President . We also weren't as sure about gay marriage--Obama mentioned extending benefits to gay veterans' family members, but didn't talk about marriage equality, despite significant fundraising and donor support from gays and lesbians.

We missed a lot of things that were in the speech--especially on foreign policy, increasing the minimum wage and unbelievably on women's issues (two Planned Parenthood vehicles combined to spend more than $10 million supporting Obama or attacking his opponent, Republican nominee Mitt Romney). But where we followed the money--on higher education, the sequester, taxes, immigration, gun policy, energy and the environment, we think we did reasonably well--not always perfect, but more right than wrong.