9 PM EST, Live Video: President Obama’s First State of the Union Address


obama2[LIVE VIDEO BELOW, 9 p.m. EST.  Earlier updates below. ] President Obama delivers his first State of the Union address against a backdrop of an American public anxious about the economy and lawmakers on edge about the midterm elections. The president is expected to discuss health care, jobs, voter frustrations and government transparency.

8:48 p.m. The president’s speech is being written right up until the last moments, according to two White House aides, who say they have not seen a new draft since about noon today. An embargoed copy of the full speech was supposed to be released at 8:30 p.m., but there’s no sign of it yet because of last-minute changes.

8:38 p.m. Obama en route to Capitol

8 p.m. CNN’s Ed Henry reports: Senior officials say the president’s broad goal is to seize back the mantle of change by talking about the need for a “new beginning” between Democrats and Republicans that can restore trust in Washington.

Along these lines, the president will make what officials describe as a passing reference to the special election in Massachusetts but will not have a “chastened” tone like Bill Clinton after the 1994 election. Instead, officials say he will use the election defeat as a way to challenge Republicans to meet him halfway on the major issues facing the nation.

Officials say he will note that with Republicans now having 41 votes in the Senate, they can’t just block everything.

The first test will come next week when the Senate is expected to begin debate on a jobs bill. The president will specifically try to sprinkle the jobs bill with small business and corporate tax cuts to win over some Republican votes and call their bluff if they do not come on board.

While jobs and the economy will make up the bulk of the speech, officials say health care will also figure prominently. But they note the president will not get too specific on the path forward because key lawmakers want to take a deep breath on the volatile issue while ramping up much more time on the jobs legislation.

Beyond jobs and health care, officials say the second tier of the agenda will focus on three primary issues:

— Financial regulatory reform, which gives the president another chance to press Wall Street to change the rules of the road to prevent another crisis.

— Climate change legislation, where the president will specifically cite the work of lawmakers in both parties trying to broker a compromise.

— Education reform, where the president will push for an increase of up to $4 billion despite lean times for other key parts of his budget.

7 p.m. Excerpts released:

On America’s future:

We face big and difficult challenges. And what the American people hope — what they deserve — is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences; to overcome the numbing weight of our politics. For while the people who sent us here have different backgrounds and different stories and different beliefs, the anxieties they face are the same. The aspirations they hold are shared. A job that pays the bill. A chance to get ahead. Most of all, the ability to give their children a better life.

It is because of this spirit — this great decency and great strength — that I have never been more hopeful about America’s future than I am tonight. Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We don’t allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it’s time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength. And tonight, I’d like to talk about how together, we can deliver on that promise.

On health care:

By the time I’m finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance. Millions will lose it this year. Our deficit will grow. Premiums will go up. Co-pays will go up. Patients will be denied the care they need. Small-business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether. I will not walk away from these Americans. And neither should the people in this chamber.

On transparency:

It’s time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my administration or Congress. And it’s time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office. Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign companies — to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.

I’m also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform. You have trimmed some of this spending and embraced some meaningful change. But restoring the public trust demands more. For example, some members of Congress post some earmark requests online. Tonight, I’m calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single Web site before there’s a vote so that the American people can see how their money is being spent.


{Updates: CNN/Video: NBC, White House Press Corps., Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Oh wow! This guy is the biggest ba’al gaavah I have ever seen. His head is always held high. He thinks he is the greatest gift to humanity, while instead he is killing this country one day at a time.