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Jan-27-2010 17:41printcomments

State of the Union Address

"It is because of this spirit – this great decency and great strength – that I have never been more hopeful about America’s future than I am tonight. Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We don’t allow fear or division to break our spirit" -President Obama
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET, the President will give his first State of the Union Address. He says he will talk directly to the American people about restoring security for middle class families after a lost decade of declining wages, eroding retirement security and escalating health care and tuition costs.


We face big and difficult challenges. And what the American people hope – what they deserve – is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences; to overcome the numbing weight of our politics. For while the people who sent us here have different backgrounds and different stories and different beliefs, the anxieties they face are the same. The aspirations they hold are shared. A job that pays the bills. A chance to get ahead. Most of all, the ability to give their children a better life.

You know what else they share? They share a stubborn resilience in the face of adversity. After one of the most difficult years in our history, they remain busy building cars and teaching kids; starting businesses and going back to school. They are coaching little league and helping their neighbors. As one woman wrote to me, “We are strained but hopeful, struggling but encouraged.”

It is because of this spirit – this great decency and great strength – that I have never been more hopeful about America’s future than I am tonight. Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We don’t allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it’s time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength. And tonight, I’d like to talk about how together, we can deliver on that promise.

By the time I’m finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance. Millions will lose it this year. Our deficit will grow. Premiums will go up. Co-pays will go up. Patients will be denied the care they need. Small business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether. I will not walk away from these Americans. And neither should the people in this chamber.

Rather than fight the same tired battles that have dominated Washington for decades, it’s time for something new. Let’s try common sense. Let’s invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt. Let’s meet our responsibility to the people who sent us here.

To do that, 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. To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.

That’s what I came to Washington to do. That’s why – for the first time in history – my Administration posts our White House visitors online. And that’s why we’ve excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.

But we cannot stop there. It’s time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my Administration or Congress. And it’s time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office. Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign companies – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.

I’m also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform. You have trimmed some of this spending and embraced some meaningful change. But restoring the public trust demands more. For example, some members of Congress post some earmark requests online. Tonight, I’m calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single website before there’s a vote so that the American people can see how their money is being spent.

Special thanks to Jesse Lee and the White House blog.

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Amanda January 28, 2010 12:55 am (Pacific time)

Sadly, there are those who believe the garbage being fed to them that tac breaks for the wealthy help create jobs...I like to see their investent portfolios after the tax breaks they got....To break these two-party political divisions, we need a third party to break "business as usual" in Washington.

Frances January 27, 2010 10:26 pm (Pacific time)

I decided tonight I would pay attention to the republican legislators and see what they disapproved of in the speech. I noticed two big ones I thought were important that they decided they would disapprove of by remaining seated and not applauding. The first was when Obama said no more tax breaks for companies that sent jobs overseas but for those companies that kept jobs here. Can someone explain to me why these republicans are in favor of companies sending jobs overseas? They claim more jobs in America is important so this seems like hypocracy. The second thing they didn't like was the thought of any regulation on the finance sector, so it seems they are in favor of consumers being subjected to the cold hearted greed of this group who, in continueing to award themselves big bonuses right after the bail out and in the last few weeks, seem to be arrogantly thumbing their noses at the American people. Which leads me to my next question. Can someone explain to me why poor and middle class American conservatives continue to support republicans who do not seem to be working for them but working to ensure the rich get to keep getting richer. And do these republicans think they can keep telling Americans that these big companies need tax breaks so they can "create" jobs? Do they think we are ignorant? Are so many of us really that stupid?

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