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NBC White House Stenographer Peter Alexander Previews State of the Union

On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Peter Alexander sounded like he was simply reciting a White House press release about President Obama's upcoming State of the Union address rather than actually reporting on the story: "...senior advisers to the President say that...[the speech] will be more specific, more policy and agenda-oriented....will focus on jobs and the economy, echoing familiar themes about strengthening the nation's middle class."

Alexander continued to parrot talking points: "The President, advisors say, will emphasize the value of spending on education, to give Americans the skills they need. Infrastructure, like roads. Research, including clean energy technology. And manufacturing." That was followed by liberal historian Douglas Brinkley declaring: "The inauguration was more about the underdog. This is about people that have already made it, but the American dream is fading and [Obama's] got their backs."

One gets the distinct impression that Alexander would have had nothing to report had he not repeated the President's "advisers." In fact, he even included a sound bite from one of them. After asserting that upcoming sequester budget cuts were "adding to the urgency of Tuesday's speech," a clip followed of Obama 2012 deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter: "We can't have any more self-inflicted wounds on this economy. The economy is poised to take off, if we do the right things."

Skipping over the fact that the White House proposed the sequester cuts in the first place, Alexander touted how Obama was "warning those cuts would cause a huge blow to the economy."

Even when Alexander briefly noted that many of the policies the President has advocated are not high priorities for the American people, the reporter still managed to work in White House spin: "While some of the President's most prominent agenda items – immigration reform, gun control, and climate change –  fall well below the economy and budget deficit among Americans' top concerns, Mr. Obama's expected to cast them in economic terms as well. Citing, among other things, the benefits of attracting the world's best minds."

On Tuesday's Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd began his report on the State of the Union by framing the address as Obama's "last best chance to motivate Congress to do big things."

Here is a full transcript of the February 10 report:

6:39PM ET

LESTER HOLT: On Tuesday night, President Obama will deliver the first State of Union address of his second term. And despite all the attention that gun violence and immigration have been getting in recent weeks, the economy will be the President's major theme. We have more on this tonight from NBC White House correspondent Peter Alexander. Hi, Peter.

PETER ALEXANDER: Hi, Lester. Good evening to you. Unlike his inaugural address last month, senior advisers to the President say that his State of the Union address will be more specific, more policy and agenda-oriented, as the President charts out his proposed course for the next year.

Heading into his fifth annual address before Congress Tuesday night, senior administration officials say Mr. Obama will focus on jobs and the economy, echoing familiar themes about strengthening the nation's middle class.

BARACK OBAMA: Our economy grows when everybody's getting a fair shot and everybody's getting a fair shake.

ALEXANDER: The President, advisors say, will emphasize the value of spending on education, to give Americans the skills they need. Infrastructure, like roads. Research, including clean energy technology. And manufacturing.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY [PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN]: The inauguration was more about the underdog. This is about people that have already made it, but the American dream is fading and he's got their backs.

ALEXANDER: Adding to the urgency of Tuesday's speech, the looming sequester deadline set for March 1st, when $85 billion in across the board cuts are set to take effect.

STEPHANIE CUTTER [OBAMA 2012 DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER]: We can't have any more self-inflicted wounds on this economy. The economy is poised to take off, if we do the right things.

ALEXANDER: The President warning those cuts would cause a huge blow to the economy. But Republicans firmly oppose more tax revenue as a solution.

ERIC CANTOR: The problem is, David, every time you turn around, the answer is to raise taxes. And, you know, he just got his tax hike on the wealthy. And you can't, in this town, every three months raise taxes.

ALEXANDER: While some of the President's most prominent agenda items – immigration reform, gun control, and climate change –  fall well below the economy and budget deficit among Americans' top concerns, Mr. Obama's expected to cast them in economic terms as well. Citing, among other things, the benefits of attracting the world's best minds. The President's tone will matter, too, as he faces a choice between confrontation and compromise.

MICHAEL GERSON [FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH SPEECH WRITER]: He can continue the approach he's taken, which is very much an outside game, pressure the Congress, turn up the heat. Or he can go for a more conciliatory approach in this speech.

ALEXANDER: And the President will follow up his speech by taking his State of the Union message on the road, Lester. He has three stops after the speech, they are Asheville, North Carolina, Atlanta, Georgia, winding down in his hometown of Chicago.

HOLT: Alright, Peter. And we want to remind everyone, NBC News will have live coverage of the State of Union address on Tuesday at 9:00 Eastern.