Obama delivers State of the Union
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 00:02
President Obama delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday night, setting the tone with a quote from John F. Kennedy’s address decades earlier: “The Constitution makes us not rivals for power, but partners for progress.”
Themes of unification, compromise, and responsibility wove much of his address through the evening as Obama asserted that “America moves forward only when we do so together.”
“The American people…expect us to put the nation interests before the party,” Obama said about Congress working toward compromise. “It is our unfinished task to make sure this government works on behalf of the many.”
The president laid out his plan for “a rising, thriving middle class” to be rebuilt after more than a decade when “wages and incomes have barely budged.”
With the statement that both parties “must embrace the need for modest reforms,” Obama spoke to reforms on healthcare, changes in Medicare payment and bipartisan tax reforms.
“Our government shouldn’t make promises we cannot keep, but we must keep the promises we’ve already made,” Obama said.
He addressed the much discussed plan to reduce the deficit, to which the president explained that reducing the deficit alone was not an economic plan. Rather, growing an economy that creates jobs “must be the North Star that guides our efforts.”
In a three-part process, Obama’s goal is to bring more jobs to shore, create training and education to employ at those jobs and thus ensure Americans have access to make a “decent living.”
One of the key aspects of attaining such, according to Obama, will come once the country “[invests] in the best ideas,” citing the Human Genome Project as a prime example of the possible success.
Spiraling from that into the topic of independent sustainability, President Obama called attention to recent growth and the need for a growing future in natural resources, and the need to do more to combat climate change.
“We are finally poised to produce our own energy future,” Obama said. “Let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years.”
Among the other changes Obama called for, education reform was one of the most prominent, with a key goal being to work “with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America.”
“Let’s give our kids a chance,” Obama said.
In light of recent discussions and reminiscent of his Inaugural Address, Obama touched on immigration reform, as well women’s right to “earn a living equal to their efforts.”
“Everybody is willing to work hard and have the chance to get ahead,” Obama said, summing up much of his discussions surrounding equal employment opportunity.
Obama plans to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year, as well as raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.
“Let’s tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so it finally becomes a wage you can live on,” Obama said.
Sure to include what is being said to be one of his biggest issues for his second term, President Obama shared personal stories of victims of gun control, driving home his firm call for votes to gun control.
Obama bookended his address citing his dedicated determination to bring troops home this year and end the war for good.
“America will achieve our objective of defeating the core of al Qaeda,” he said. “After a decade of war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home.”