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Sen. Kerry: Biggest Challenge To U.S. Is Economy And Creating Jobs04:18
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President Obama will deliver his second State of the Union address Tuesday evening in Washington.

In anticipation, we asked Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to join us in the studio to give us his perspective on the state of party politics, the war in Afghanistan, the recent elections in Sudan and his relationship after one year with Massachusetts junior Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).

Mr. Obama has said his speech will focus on job creation and an investment in innovation. We started by asking Kerry what he is hoping to hear from the president.

"The biggest single challenge to our country right now is our economy and creating jobs," Kerry said. "We can do it, because we know how to do it and we've done it all our lives.

We just have to focus on the things that will make the greatest difference. And above all, we are innovators, we are creators. We need to put the American entrepreneurial spirit back to work, unleash that energy, and that means excite research and development in as many fields as possible."

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Kerry had a comprehensive discussion with with Radio Boston's Meghna Chakrabarti Monday about the economy, President Obama’s State of the Union address, infrastructure investments and the atmosphere in Washington, D.C., now that the GOP has taken control of the House.

He said he is hopeful that meaningful legislation can be passed, despite the strong partisanship.

"I’m hopeful that reason can take hold here, that we can find a critical mass within the House and Senate that recognizes truth when they hear it and see it. So my hope is that as we get into this debate, we can reason with each other," Kerry said.

"If, on the other hand, people are determined simply to be ideological, and partisan, political, we’re in trouble. And there’s no other way to put it, and the proof will be in the pudding. We’ll see what happens."

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This program aired on January 25, 2011.

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Bob Oakes has been WBUR's Morning Edition anchor since 1992.

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