Obama: 'State of Our Union Is Getting Stronger'

President says restoring American dream our 'defining issue'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2012 8:11 PM CST
Updated Jan 24, 2012 9:27 PM CST
Obama's State of the Union
President Obama, flanked by Joe Biden and John Boehner.   (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)

President Obama delivered his third State of the Union address tonight, with a focus as expected on economic inequality and the need for all Americans to get a "fair shot" at success, reports CNN. In fact, Obama called keeping the promise of the American dream alive the "defining issue of our time." (That includes revamping the tax code, he said. Details on his Buffett rule pitch here.)

Other highlights:

  • Giffords: Retiring Congresswoman Gabby Giffords got a rousing welcome when introduced, then a long hug from Obama when he arrived.
  • Education: "Tonight, I call on every state to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18."
  • Familiar issue: "Pass the payroll tax cut without delay."
  • Tone it down: He said "Washington is broken" and asked lawmakers to "lower the temperature of this town. We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction."
  • Foreign affairs: Besides tributes to the troops, foreign policy got relatively little attention, notes the New York Times.
  • Joke time: Referring to an old rule classifying milk spills as oil spills: "With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk." BuzzFeed rounds up the groans here.
See excerpts of the GOP response by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels here. Special guests included Steve Jobs' widow and Warren Buffett's secretary. (Read more President Obama stories.)

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