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In State of the Union address, Obama says nation stronger, GOP should back his plans

  • President Barack Obama is greeted before giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

    President Barack Obama is greeted before giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

  • President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

    President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

  • Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. arrives for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. arrives for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Vice President Joe Biden talks with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    Vice President Joe Biden talks with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • From left, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. sit on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress . (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

    From left, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. sit on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress . (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

  • House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. arrives for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. arrives for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • President Barack Obama gestures toward Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio before giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

    President Barack Obama gestures toward Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio before giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

  • Secretary of State John Kerry greets President Barack Obama before the president's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. Sen.Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. is at right, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is at center. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

    Secretary of State John Kerry greets President Barack Obama before the president's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. Sen.Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. is at right, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is at center. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

  • House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif. left, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor listen during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif. left, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor listen during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • President Barack Obama gestures as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

    President Barack Obama gestures as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

  • President Barack Obama gestures while giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    President Barack Obama gestures while giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listens at right as President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

    House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listens at right as President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

  • President Barack Obama is greeted before giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. arrives for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • Vice President Joe Biden talks with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • From left, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. sit on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress . (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. arrives for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • President Barack Obama gestures toward Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio before giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • Secretary of State John Kerry greets President Barack Obama before the president's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. Sen.Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. is at right, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is at center. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif. left, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor listen during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • President Barack Obama gestures as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • President Barack Obama gestures while giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listens at right as President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

Uncompromising and politically emboldened, President Obama urged a deeply divided Congress last night to embrace his plans to use government money to create jobs and strengthen the nation’s middle class. He declared Republican ideas for reducing the deficit “even worse” than the unpalatable deals Washington had to stomach during his first term.

In his first State of the Union address since winning re-election, Obama conceded economic revival is an “unfinished task,” but he claimed clear progress and said he was seeking to build on it as he embarks on four more years in office.

“We have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is strong,” Obama said, speaking before a joint session of Congress and a television audience of millions.

In specific proposals for his second term, an assertive Obama called for increased federal spending to fix the nation’s roads and bridges, the first increase in the minimum wage in six years and expansion of early education to every American 4-year-old. Seeking to appeal for support from Republicans, he promised that none of his proposals would increase the deficit “by a single dime.”

In the Republican response to Obama’s address, rising GOP star Marco Rubio of Florida came right back at the president, saying his solution “to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more.”

Sen. Rubio, in prepared remarks, said presidents of both parties have recognized that the free enterprise system brings middle-class prosperity.

“But President Obama?” Rubio said. “He believes it’s the cause of our problems.”

Obama also announced new steps to reduce the U.S. military footprint abroad, with 34,000 American troops withdrawing from Afghanistan within a year. And he had a sharp rebuke for North Korea, which launched a nuclear test less than a day before his remarks, saying, “Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further.”

Despite the pressing foreign policy concerns, jobs and growth dominated Obama’s prime-time address, underscoring the degree to which the economy remains a vulnerability for the president and could disrupt his plans for pursuing a broader agenda, including immigration overhaul, stricter gun laws and climate change legislation.

Standing in Obama’s way is a Congress that remains nearly as divided as it was during the final years of his first term, when Washington lurched from one crisis to another.

The president implored lawmakers to break through partisan logjams, asserting that “the greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next.”

“Americans don’t expect government to solve every problem,” he said. “They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can.”

Yet Obama offered few signs of being willing to compromise himself, instead doubling down on his calls to create jobs by spending more government money and insisting that lawmakers pay down the deficit through a combination of targeted spending cuts and tax increases. But he offered few specifics on what he wanted to see cut, focusing instead on the need to protect programs that help the middle class, elderly and poor.

He did reiterate his willingness to tackle entitlement changes, particularly on Medicare, though he has ruled out increasing the eligibility age for the popular benefit program for seniors.

Republicans are ardently opposed to Obama’s calls for legislating more tax revenue to reduce the deficit and offset automatic spending cuts – known as the sequester – that are to take effect March 1.

Obama broke little new ground on two agenda items he has pushed vigorously since winning re-election: overhauling the nation’s fractured immigration laws and enacting tougher gun control measures in the wake of the horrific massacre of young children in Newtown, Conn. Yet he pressed for urgency on both, calling on Congress to send him an immigration bill “in the next few months” and insisting lawmakers hold votes on his gun proposals.

“Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress,” he said. “If you want to vote no, that’s your choice.”

Numerous lawmakers wore green lapel ribbons in memory of those killed in the December shootings in Connecticut. Among those watching in the House gallery: the parents of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, shot and killed recently in a park just a mile from the president’s home in Chicago, as well as other victims of gun violence.

On the economy, Obama called for raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 by 2015. The minimum wage has been stagnant since 2007, and administration officials said the increase would strengthen purchasing power. The president also wants Congress to approve automatic increases in the wage to keep pace with inflation.

Looking for common ground anywhere he could find it, Obama framed his proposal to boost the minimum wage by pointing out that even his GOP presidential rival liked the idea. He said, “Here’s an idea that Gov. Romney and I actually agreed on last year: Let’s tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on.”

Obama also renewed his calls for infrastructure spending, investments he sought repeatedly during his first term with little support from Republicans. He pressed lawmakers to approve a $50 billion “fix it first” program that would address the most urgent infrastructure needs.

Education also figures in Obama’s plans to boost American competitiveness in the global economy. Under his proposal, the federal government would help states provide preschool for all 4-year-olds. Officials did not provide a cost for the preschool programs but said the government would provide financial incentives to help states.

Among the other initiatives Obama is proposing:

— A $1 billion plan to create 15 “manufacturing institutes” that would bring together businesses, universities and the government. If Congress opposes the initiative, Obama plans to use his presidential powers to create three institutes on his own.

— Creation of an “energy security trust” that would use revenue from federal oil and gas leases to support development of clean energy technologies such as biofuels and natural gas

— Doubling of renewable energy in the U.S. from wind, solar and geothermal sources by 2020.

Tuesday night’s address marked Obama’s most expansive remarks on the economy since the November election. Since securing a second term, the president has focused more heavily on new domestic policy proposals, including immigration changes and preventing gun violence following the Newtown massacre.

Obama also called on Congress to tackle the threat of climate change, another issue that eluded him in his first term. The president pledged to work with lawmakers to seek bipartisan solutions but said if Capitol Hill doesn’t act, he’ll order his Cabinet to seek steps he can take using his presidential powers.

Taking a swipe at those who question the threat of global warming, Obama said, “We can choose to believe that superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.”

Obama SOTU bucket of lies: #1.... Pres. Obama: We buy… less foreign oil than we have in 20 [years]. FACT...Wrong!!! We buy more “foreign oil” now than we did 20 years ago..... Lie#2.... Obama: We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years.....What do you mean by “we”? You don’t produce any oil....... decline in Federal Gulf of Mexico production from ~1.7 MMbbl/d to ~1.4 MMbbl/d since early 2010? All of the increase in domestic US crude oil production has come from State and privately owned mineral leases. Production from Federal leases has declined by about 300,000 barrels per day since 2009.

Congrats to the CM for this article. They finally printed one that tells the true story of what was said. Highly unexpected. But a nice change.

They sure have sail and they also have abandoned the idea that we need budgets and compromise to get anything done. They truly believe you can spend your way out of anything without that spending impacting the economy.

Is it me or does this President give the same speech every time? Starts out saying he will not add 1 cent to the deficit with his programs. Then he lists his programs and how he plans to invest so much money in each of them. Nothing new here. More spending. no budget, and promises to fix everything. He will go down in history as the biggest spender of all time, and the President that has done the most damage to the economy.

One thing Obama proved is that democrats actually think that BIG GOVERNMENT makes the world go around.....they have completely abandoned even recognizing that the private sector exists

And your side has completely abandoned even recognizing that the public sector deserves to exist.

The public sector deserves to exist. However, it desperately needs whittling down.

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