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State Of The Union 2011: Speech, Reaction & Commentary (LIVE UPDATES)

AP/The Huffington Post Posted: 01/25/11 10:32 AM

Standing before a nation clamoring for jobs, President Barack Obama will call for targeted spending to boost the economy but also for budget cutting in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, his first in a new era of divided political power.

(SCROLL DOWN FOR LIVE UPDATES)

To a television audience in the tens of millions, Obama will home in on jobs, the issue of most importance to the public and to his hopes for a second term. Though war and other concerns bid for attention, the president has chosen to lean heavily on the economy, with far less emphasis on Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorism and foreign affairs.

Specifically, Obama will focus on improving the education, innovation and infrastructure of the United States as the way to provide a sounder economic base. He will pair that with calls to reduce the government’s debt – now topping a staggering $14 trillion – and reforming government. Those five areas will frame the speech, with sprinklings of fresh proposals.

Yet no matter how ambitious Obama’s rhetorical reach, his speech at the halfway point of his term will be viewed in the context of his new political reality.

VIDEO AND MORE HERE

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The National Journal has posted the FULL TEXT of a draft of Obama’s speech.

Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner. And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague – and our friend – Gabby Giffords.It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.

But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference.

We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.

That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation.

Read the rest HERE.

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‘SNL’ Takes On The State Of The Union (VIDEO)

Huffington Post |  Dan Abramson First Posted: 01-31-10 09:27 AM   |   Updated: 01-31-10 09:39 AM

SNL took on the State of the Union last night, cutting together clips of Fred Armisen as Obama with actual shots of displeased Republicans and ecstatic Democrats.

Armisen opened the speech taking shots at Martha Coakley. “Our nominee Martha Coakley was single most incompetent candidate ever to seek public office in this nation’s history,” he announced to rousing applause from both the crowd and Joe Biden (Jason Sudeikis), adding, “Martha Coakley, you are a disgrace. You couldn’t beat Dick Cheney for mayor of Berkeley.”

The speech then moved on to address the problems that inherited from the Bush administration upon moving into the White House:

“Dishes piled high in the sink, sheets that hadn’t been washed in months – perhaps years, floors littered with candy wrappers and dust bunnies, and a fridge filled with food long past its expiration date. “

Mocking the actual response to the speech, the sketch repeatedly cut to Democrats wildly applauding, then juxtaposed them with stone-faced Republicans. But a surprise attendee, Brendan Fraser, was won over, as he reacted with his signature clap.

Armisen closed by addressing health care reform: “To be honest, I could either way on that. If you want it, pass it. Whatever, I’ll sign it. It’s your call. I really don’t care anymore.”

>>>VIDEO HERE<<<

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Kucinich to Obama: Be ‘bolder’ or ‘we could lose our country’

Raw Story- By Sahil Kapur
Thursday, January 28th, 2010 — 4:05 pm

‘Democratic Party must demonstrate it has the ability to govern’

WASHINGTON — Deeply disillusioned last week by his party’s insufficient response to the recession, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said Thursday he views President Obama’s State of the Union as a step in the right direction but urged him to “be much bolder.”

“It would be helpful if he could take a page from Franklin Roosevelt,” Kucinich told Raw Story in an exclusive interview. “FDR saw the need for broad structural changes in the economy and also the need for government to invest and put America back to work.”

“If we can’t fix our economic injustices and improve the standard of living for regular people, we could lose our country.”

While Obama explicitly called for a new “jobs bill” in the speech, he didn’t put forth many details. What kinds of reforms would Kucinich like to see?

MORE HERE

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State Of The Union 2010 (FULL TEXT): Read Obama’s Speech

HuffPo- First Posted: 01-27-10 07:06 PM   |   Updated: 01-27-10 09:21 PM | Updated: 01-28-10 08:33 AM

The full text of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, as transcribed by the White House.

Madam Speaker, Vice President Biden, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the President shall give to Congress information about the state of our union. For 220 years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty. They’ve done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility. And they’ve done so in the midst of war and depression; at moments of great strife and great struggle.

It’s tempting to look back on these moments and assume that our progress was inevitable — that America was always destined to succeed. But when the Union was turned back at Bull Run, and the Allies first landed at Omaha Beach, victory was very much in doubt. When the market crashed on Black Tuesday, and civil rights marchers were beaten on Bloody Sunday, the future was anything but certain. These were the times that tested the courage of our convictions, and the strength of our union. And despite all our divisions and disagreements, our hesitations and our fears, America prevailed because we chose to move forward as one nation, as one people.

Again, we are tested. And again, we must answer history’s call.

One year ago, I took office amid two wars, an economy rocked by a severe recession, a financial system on the verge of collapse, and a government deeply in debt. Experts from across the political spectrum warned that if we did not act, we might face a second depression. So we acted — immediately and aggressively. And one year later, the worst of the storm has passed.

But the devastation remains. One in 10 Americans still cannot find work. Many businesses have shuttered. Home values have declined. Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard. And for those who’d already known poverty, life has become that much harder.

This recession has also compounded the burdens that America’s families have been dealing with for decades — the burden of working harder and longer for less; of being unable to save enough to retire or help kids with college.

So I know the anxieties that are out there right now. They’re not new. These struggles are the reason I ran for President. These struggles are what I’ve witnessed for years in places like Elkhart, Indiana; Galesburg, Illinois. I hear about them in the letters that I read each night. The toughest to read are those written by children — asking why they have to move from their home, asking when their mom or dad will be able to go back to work.

(more…)

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Watch Obama Live: Streaming Video, Twitter Reaction

The Huffington Post
First Posted: 10-31-08 12:49 PM   |   Updated: 12-15-09 12:17 PM

Whenever President Obama is speaking publicly, you’ll find live streaming video on this page, along with latest Twitter commentary from reporters and pundits.

>>>FULL TEXT HERE<<<

>>>LIVE STREAMING VIDEO HERE<<<

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Obama State Of The Union Speech Will Focus On Economy

BEN FELLER | 01/27/10 09:49 AM | AP

WASHINGTON — Facing a divided Congress and a dissatisfied nation, President Barack Obama will unveil a jobs-heavy agenda in his State of the Union address Wednesday, retooling his message more than his mission.

His goal: Get the economy, the confidence of voters and his own presidency on surer footing.

Obama will offer fresh details about how he wants to salvage an overhaul of health care, rein in the national debt and help businesses hire again. He will call for education reform and more money for schools, take responsibility for mistakes in his first year and follow up his speech with a dash to Florida to announce $8 billion in awards for high-speed rail.

Two themes will underpin the entire address – reassuring millions of Americans that he understands their struggles and convincing people that he is working to change Washington even as he finds himself working within its old political ways.

Yet for all the new wrinkles he offers, Obama’s moment will be measured largely by how well he reconnects with the public.

“In this political environment, what I haven’t always been successful at doing is breaking through the noise and speaking directly to the American people,” Obama conceded to an interviewer last week. This is his chance – speeches like this one can draw 30 million to 50 million viewers, sometimes more.

The White House knows the 9 p.m. EST address has enormous stakes. Obama rode a tide of voter frustration into office and now is getting smacked by it himself.

Change is working against him.

MORE HERE

>>>FULL TEXT HERE<<<

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Obama to seek three year domestic spending freeze

By The Associated Press Via Raw Story

Monday, January 25th, 2010 — 8:46 pm

Facing voter anger over mounting budget deficits, President Barack Obama will ask Congress to freeze spending for some domestic programs for three years beginning in 2011, administration officials said Monday. Separately, Obama unveiled plans to help a middle class “under assault” pay its bills, save for retirement and care for kids and aging parents.

The spending freeze would apply to a relatively small portion of the federal budget, affecting a $477 billion pot of money available for domestic agencies whose budgets are approved by Congress each year. Some of those agencies could get increases, others would have to face cuts; such programs got an almost 10 percent increase this year. The federal budget total was $3.5 trillion.

The three-year plan will be part of the budget Obama will submit Feb. 1, senior administration officials said, commenting on condition of anonymity to reveal private details.

The Pentagon, veterans programs, foreign aid and the Homeland Security Department would be exempt from the freeze.

The savings would be small at first, perhaps $10 billion to $15 billion, one official said. But over the coming decade, savings would add up to $250 billion.

(more…)

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