President Barack Obama Delivers Final State of the Union Speech
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News January 12, 2016
In President Obama’s final State of the Union address, he outlined his vision for the future of the country and highlighted his accomplishments during his two terms in office.
The President urged Americans Tuesday night to rekindle their belief in the promise of change that first carried him to the White House, declaring that the country must not allow election-year fear and division to take hold.
“For my final address to this chamber, I don’t want to talk just about the next year. I want to focus on the next five years, ten years, and beyond. I want to focus on our future,” he said.
The president’s final State of the Union comes ahead of this year’s presidential election. His remarks did not contain any direct reference to the presidential candidates, the president alludes to the rhetoric used by Republicans on the campaign trail.
“America has been through big changes before – wars and depression, the influx of new immigrants, workers fighting for a fair deal, movements to expand civil rights. Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, who promised to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control. And each time, we overcame those fears,” he said.
“We did not, in the words of Lincoln, adhere to the ‘dogmas of the quiet past.’ Instead we thought anew, and acted anew. We made change work for us, always extending America’s promise outward, to the next frontier, to more and more people. And because we did – because we saw opportunity where others saw only peril – we emerged stronger and better than before,” he added. “What was true then can be true now. Our unique strengths as a nation – our optimism and work ethic, our spirit of discovery and innovation, our diversity and commitment to the rule of law – these things give us everything we need to ensure prosperity and security for generations to come.”
The president highlighted the success of his seven years in office, including progress made in the economy, on healthcare, and with same-sex marriage. Speaking to a Republican-controlled Congress, President Obama cited areas where Democrats and Republicans may be able to work together, including criminal justice reform and prescription drug abuse.
“So who knows, we might surprise the cynics again,” he said.
As he started his final State of the Union speech, President Obama said he would be brief, joking that the 2016 candidates in the audience needed to get back on the campaign trail.
"Tonight marks the eighth year I’ve come here to report on the State of the Union. And for this final one, I’m going to try to make it shorter. I know some of you are antsy to get back to Iowa," the president said to laughter.