"...the State of the Union is strong."

President Barack Obama Delivers Sixth State of the Union Address

Photo © 2015 Eric M. Appleman/DEMOCRACY IN ACTION
Jan. 20, 2015--President Barack Obama delivered an upbeat State of the Union address, declaring "At this moment -- with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, booming energy production -- we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth." 

Despite suffering a major setback in the midterm election two and a half months ago Obama offered an ambitious set of proposals including paid sick leave and maternity leave, lowering the cost of community college, trade promotion authority, and eliminating loopholes in the tax code.  Obama set out many of these ideas at events around the country over the last several weeks.  In the international sphere the president asked Congress to pass a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL, touted Cuba policy, and said he would veto any bill Congress passes imposing sanctions on Iran while negotiations are ongoing.  On climate change Obama declared, "I am determined to make sure that American leadership drives international action." 
Obama was perhaps most animated when he discussed "a better politics."  "A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues and values, and principles and facts, rather than 'gotcha' moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives."

Despite Obama's sentiments, there were not a lot of points during the speech when Republicans joined in the applause, and it is doubtful whether the new Republican Congress will act on many of Obama's ideas.  In the Republican response, freshman U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (IA) advocated a very different set of proposals including passing the "Keystone jobs bill," closing loopholes "to lower rates-and create jobs, not pay for more government spending," repealing and replacing the "health care law that's hurt so many hardworking families," and correcting executive overreach.

Screen Grab
Setting the Stage  |  White House Transcript Republican Responses  |  Reactions
more photos later this month...