Obama: 'Middle-Class Economics Works'

President delivers State of the Union
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2015 6:26 PM CST
Updated Jan 20, 2015 9:16 PM CST
Obama: We Do Best When 'Everyone Gets Their Fair Shot'
First lady Michelle Obama waves before the speech.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Obama has wrapped up his State of the Union speech, having tipped his hand on initiatives in advance, including a tax hit on the wealthiest Americans, free tuition for community college students, and paid family and sick leave. As expected, Obama boasted of an economic recovery and focused a big part of the speech on initiatives for the middle class. On the latter front, that includes a "new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year." Some highlights:

  • 'Turn the page': "We are 15 years into this new century. Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world. It has been, and still is, a hard time for many. But tonight, we turn the page."

  • Middle-class economics: "The verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don't get in the way. ... That's what middle-class economics is—the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules."
  • A 'better politics': "Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different. Understand—a better politics isn't one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine. A better politics is one where we appeal to each other's basic decency instead of our basest fears."
  • Laugh line: After saying, "I have no more campaigns to run," some Republicans cheered. Obama ad-libbed, "I know because I won both of them." See the video.
  • Keystone: "Let's set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. Let's pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year."
  • Medical research: "Tonight, I'm launching a new Precision Medicine Initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes."
  • Terrorism: "We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we've done relentlessly since I took office. ... Tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL."
  • Iran: He promised to veto any sanctions by Congress, warning they would derail progress on nuclear talks.
  • Cuba: "When what you're doing doesn't work for 50 years, it's time to try something new. ... This year, Congress should begin the work of ending the embargo."
  • Climate change: He rebuked critics he says are hiding behind the line, "I'm not a scientist." "Well, I'm not a scientist, either," he said. But "the best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we'll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions ..."
  • Cyberattacks: Obama pushed for stronger laws. "If we don't act, we'll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable. If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe."
  • Gitmo: "I will not relent in my determination to shut it down. It's not who we are."
  • Full speech: The White House released the full text.
(More State of the Union address stories.)

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