Obama: We Are Part of the American Family
Less than three weeks after the Tucson shooting, Democrats and Republicans sat side by side and wore white ribbons as a tribute to the victims during Tuesday's State of the Union address. The president continued this message of unity in his speech, opening by noting the absence of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is in a rehabilitation facility in Texas, and alluding to Christina Green, the 9 year old killed in the shooting. "We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found…that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children," he said.
Obama: Outbuild the Rest of the World
Innovate, innovate, innovate: A running theme of the address was the need for America to "win" in the future, and to do so through innovation. The president said the country can't afford to fall behind other nations in areas like technology, energy, and education: "In America, innovation doesn't just change our lives, it is how we make our living."
Obama: Invest in Tomorrow's Energy
To promote innovation, the president asked Congress to stop giving taxpayer dollars to oil companies, cracking one of his jokes of the night: "I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own." He additionally set new goals for clean energy, raising the bar so that by 2035, 80 percent of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources.
Education: The 'Most Meaningful Reform'
Show them the money: Aside from stressing the need for new teachers, the president expressed the need for education reform to start with changes in the classroom, such as higher expectations for students, promising that if states show successful reform, they'll receive funding. When it came to his faith in policy, President Obama didn't mince words: " Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation."
Obama: Government Spending Is 'Not Sustainable'
Say goodbye to the "mountain of debt": Prior to the address, it was expected that President Obama would call for a freeze of annual domestic spending for the next five years. In the address, the president added that since families have to make sacrifices to live within their means, "they deserve a government that does the same."
Obama: Time for Government Reorganization
Reorganization…and salmon: The president called for a reorganization to make the government more efficient, quipping that there are two agencies to oversee freshwater salmon and saltwater salmon—and that it gets more complicated when they're smoked. "The last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV," he said.
Obama Reaffirms Support of DADT Repeal
One voice: The president expressed his continued support of the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal, calling for the country to stand together in support of all troops. "Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love," he said.