U.S. President Barack Obama walks down the colonnade from the Oval Office
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama is set to tell Americans on Tuesday that while the country faces extraordinary change, the nation can overcome the challenges it faces if Americans come together, the White House said.
"It will only happen if we fix our politics," says Obama, in excerpts of his State of the Union address provided by the White House.
"The future we want - opportunity and security for our families; a rising standard of living and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids - all that is within our reach," he says.
EARLIER DEVELOPMENTS (ALL TIMES ET)
6:16:53 PM: President Barack Obama made a brief appearance on Facebook on Tuesday as he finalized the text of his last State of the Union address.
The president, sitting at his desk, said he was making last minute changes and added touches to his speech.
"There's a lot of work that still needs to be done," Obama said, adding that he wanted to make sure that the American people understood his proposals. "We've got some big choices ahead," he said.
6:06:01 PM: Hardly a quiet few hours for the White House in the run up to President Obama's swan song State of the Union address later on Tuesday.
As the president goes through his final preparations for the speech:
Iran has taken 10 sailors aboard two U.S. Navy boats into custody, although Iran has told the United States that the crew members will be "promptly" returned, U.S. officials said.
And at least 145 congressional Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, are condemning the Obama administration's immigrant deportation efforts.
6:00:01 PM: Ahead of his final State of the State speech, the White House tweeted that President Barack Obama would share a few thoughts live on Facebook before the event.
Obama's speech before a joint session of Congress is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.
Meanwhile, indie rock band EL VY was gearing up for the pre-speech performance at 7:45 p.m. ET in the chamber. The White House posted clips of the band's warm up on Snapchat.
3:59:38 PM: U.S. President Barack Obama will talk about the prospects for self-driving cars in his final State of the Union address on Tuesday, according to government officials, the first time the president has used the annual speech to tackle an important issue facing the auto and technology industries.
2:27:44 PM: Millions of Americans were discussing President Obama's upcoming State of the Union address on Tuesday on top social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, debating anticipated speech topics such as gun control, terrorism and healthcare.
2:05:14 PM: U.S. President Barack Obama voiced regret for failing to unite Washington since taking office on a wave of hope in 2009, as he prepared to give a State of the Union speech on Tuesday to launch his final year in the White House.
Asked about his inability to heal America's political divisions, Obama told NBC's "Today" show, "It's a regret."
The president planned to speak optimistically about America's future in his speech in Congress, one of his few remaining chances to capture and hold the attention of millions of Americans before the Nov. 8 election of a new president who will take office next January.
The Democratic president will give his final State of the Union address as campaign rhetoric for November's presidential election intensifies with candidates fighting over illegal immigrants, wage inequality and violence. 9:00:22 AM: President Barack Obama said he could envision Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump giving a State of the Union address - but in a comedy skit.
In a "Today" show interview ahead of his final State of the Union address, the Democratic president was asked if he could envision Trump, the billionaire developer known for his bombastic style, making his own State of the Union speech as president.
"Well, I can imagine it - in a 'Saturday Night' skit," Obama said, referring to the NBC's long-running late-night comedy show "Saturday Night Live."
"Look, anything's possible. And I think, you know, we shouldn't be complacent."
(Reporting by Reuters staff)