News / USA

    Obama State of the Union Speech Focuses on Economy

    President Obama said change is not easy and he will continue to pursue it

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Kent Klein

    U.S. President Barack Obama is urging Americans to overcome a deficit of trust in government and work together to solve a damaged economy and other problems.  The economy was high on the president's list of priorities in his annual State of the Union address Wednesday night. 

    Mr. Obama acknowledged that many Americans are frustrated and angry, doubting whether he can deliver the change he promised in his 2008 campaign.  But he said change is not easy, and he will continue to pursue it.

    "We do not quit.  I do not quit.  Let us seize this moment-to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more," he said.

    In his hour-long speech before both houses of Congress, the president several times confronted the public anger that has caused his approval ratings to slide.

    "We have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now.  We face a deficit of trust-deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years," he said.

    Much of Americans' frustration concerns the nation's stubborn 10-percent unemployment rate.  Mr. Obama called for a number of initiatives to address the problem and urged the Senate to join the House of Representatives in passing a second jobs bill.

     "People are out of work.  They are hurting.  They need our help.  And, I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay," he said.

    Among the president's economic goals are doubling U.S. exports in five years and freezing most domestic government spending for three years, starting in 2011.

    Mr. Obama also urged Democratic lawmakers not to abandon the effort to reform the U.S. health care system, one of his administration's main priorities.

    "Do not walk away from reform.  Not now.  Not when we are so close.  Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people," he said.

    On foreign policy, President Obama again pledged to remove all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of August. "But make no mistake: this war is ending, and all of our troops are coming home," Mr. Obama said.

    He also said he is confident the United States will succeed in the war in Afghanistan and that diplomatic efforts are helping isolate Iran and North Korea for their pursuit of nuclear weapons.

    The Republican Party's response to the president's speech came from the governor of the state of Virginia, Bob McDonnell.  He said Democrats are spending too much and causing an unsustainable level of debt.

    "What government should not do is pile on more taxation, regulation and litigation that kill jobs and hurt the middle class," McDonnell said.

    He also said Americans want affordable health care, but do not want the government to run it.

    McDonnell is one of several Republicans who recently won elections in states the Democrats swept in 2008.

    Related video by Carolyn Presutti

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.