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Washington (AFP) – U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union address — his annual showpiece speech — on January 28, at the start of a mid-term election year.

By tradition, the speaker of the House of Representatives must invite the president to make the address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress and a national televised audience.

Republican Speaker John Boehner sent a letter of invitation to Obama on Friday, and White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president had accepted.

Boehner’s office said the joint session was set for 9:00 pm.

Presidents have historically used the speech to lay out their policy agendas. American voters will go to the polls in November 2014 for the mid-term Congressional elections.

“In the coming year, Americans expect Washington to focus on their priorities and to look for common ground in addressing the challenges facing our country,” Boehner wrote in the letter to Obama.

“In that spirit, we welcome an opportunity to hear your ideas, particularly for putting Americans back to work,” he wrote.

“It’s my honor to invite you to speak before a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, January 28, 2014.”

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