I read the speech about 5 minutes before Obama gave it. The big actual news was the support for the minimum wage hike. The big interesting part of that was the plan to index it to inflation in law.
This is one of those issues where Dem politicians are generally incompetent. Raising the minimum wage is popular. It drives voter turnout if you put it on ballot initiatives. There are a lot of popular and good things Dems fail to support sufficiently. We can discuss why. There are a variety of reasons, some rational, some not.
There are a lot of ways to alleviate poverty. Increasing the minimum wage a bit is one way. Just giving money to poor people, through an improved EITC type program is another. I'm enough of an economist to support the latter, but enough of an activist to understand what's more possible. Giving free money to poor people isn't very popular, even when tied to work. Increasing the minimum wage is.