The White House dispatched top aides to Capitol Hill Friday afternoon to brief Senate Democratic chiefs of staff on President Barack Obama's upcoming State of the Union address.
The meeting was led by Obama's new Legislative Affairs Director Katie Beirne Fallon, a former top staffer to Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, and Director of Communications Jennifer Palmieri.
One source familiar with the gathering said it was light on the specifics of the president's speech. While similar spare-on-details meetings have stoked anger from Hill staff in the past, the frustration level this year was tampered by more congressional staff involvement in the lead-up to the address.
"The communication from the White House to the Hill leading up to the speech has been terrific and much improved from past years," said a Democratic leadership aide. "Katie and [Senior Adviser] Dan Pfeiffer came up to the Hill a few weeks back to meet with leadership staff to discuss the speech and what Senate [Democrats] are hoping to hear."
"Based on what they've told us, it should be an optimistic but realistic speech touching on, among other things, college tuition affordability, consumer financial protection, and skills training," the aide added.
Senate Democratic communications directors are scheduled to be briefed on the speech on Monday.