President Barack Obama is seen on a television screen at the U.S. Capitol during his State of the Union address in Washington on January 24, 2012.
President Barack Obama is seen on a television screen at the U.S. Capitol during his State of the Union address in Washington on January 24, 2012. - 
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Marketplace

Who's that sitting over near First Lady Michelle Obama tonight at the President State of the Union address? Word is it's going to be Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The State of the Union speech will no doubt address jobs and immigration reform. But how high a priority does the administration place on innovation and technology?

"We have a President who is incredibly passionate about the power of technology and innovation to improve government," says White house Chief Technology Officer Todd Park.

Park says the government is already working to attract tech entrepreneurs.

"We've actually found a lot of people in government who are very entrepreneurial, who are extremely mission-oriented, brass-knuckled, and want to get things done. We've actually also found that it is incredibly beneficial to bring people from outside government to complement the people that we've got to deliver even better results," says Park.

On Thursday, the President will take some of his State of the Union ideas and do a Google Plus online hangout, 4:50 in the afternoon eastern. Google Plus will be town hall style, but the questions will be curated and vetted. Some politicians have become leery of the free-for-alls that can happen in some online formats.

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Follow David Brancaccio at @DavidBrancaccio