President Obama is scheduled to give the annual “State of the Union” address to congress Tuesday night.  During an interview with Radio Iowa on Monday afternoon to preview the speech, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said “clean energy” initiatives will be a focus.

“You saw just last week our administration’s renewed commitment to biofuels in increasing the amount of renewable ethanol that comprises our gasoline supply,” Gibbs said. 

The Environmental Protection Agency last week approved the use of a 15 percent ethanol blend in vehicles dating back to the 2001 model year.  Back in October, the E.P.A. approved E15 for use in vehicles that are 2007 or newer models. 

The president will outline a path toward “winning the future” in his speech, according to Gibbs.

“We have to make sure that we’re staying ahead of the Indias and the Chinas of the world,” Gibbs said, “that we’re out-innovating, out-education and out-building the rest of the world.”

One of the president’s guests at tomorrow’s speech will be the intern who helped save the life of the Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head earlier this month.  New York’s mayor today called upon the president to use part of Tuesday”s speech to discuss new safeguards in the background check system to ensure the mentally ill and people with a violent past can’t buy a gun.  Gibbs said the president will speak about the impact of the shootings.

“I don’t want to get into whether the president’s going to talk specifically about guns. I will say that we’re looking at all of the proposals that will come as a result of the circumstances that happened there,” Gibbs said. “But I think first and foremost the president will spend time relating to Tucson, talking about ensuring that the debates,that they’re gone in a way that is civil and respectful, much as he talked about when he was in Tucson a few weeks ago.”

Gibbs is leaving his job as the president’s press secretary in February.  He’ll be an outside advisor to the president’s 2012 reelection campaign.