Obama proposed some significant new policy items, including the creation of a new international minimum tax on U.S. companies making profits overseas; the launching of a new trade enforcement unit that would target unfair trade practices in countries around the world, including China; and a plan to shift federal aid away from colleges that don't keep down tuition costs. He also announced that the Defense Department will make history's largest renewable energy purchase -- totaling 1 gigawatt.
In his 2012 State of the Union Address, Barack Obama issued a ringing call for government to take the lead in rebuilding an economy that works for all Americans and to revive the promise of a more cooperative politics that carried him to the White House in 2008.
Among other things, Mr. Obama called for cutting corporate taxes, spreading high-speed Internet to all corners of the nation, and boosting spending on research, technology, and education in an effort to keep the US ahead of China, Europe, and other economic competitors.
Sounding themes of optimism and pragmatism in his 61-minute speech, Obama called for increasing investments in key areas such as education and clean energy while freezing some government spending for five years in an attempt to address simultaneous needs for economic growth and fiscal balance.
Obama looked to change the conversation from how his presidency is stalling – over the messy health care debate, a limping economy and the missteps that led to Christmas Day's barely averted terrorist disaster – to how he is seizing the reins. He spoke to a nation gloomy over double-digit unemployment and federal deficits soaring to a record $1.4 trillion, and to fellow Democrats dispirited about the fallen standing of a president they hoped would carry them through this fall's midterm elections.
In 2010, with the White House and the Democratic Party reeling from the surprise loss of the Massachusetts Senate seat to Scott Brown - which threw the chance of passing health care reform in doubt -- Obama declared "I don't quit" but acknowledged that "change has not come fast enough." During the speech, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito shook his head in disagreement when Obama assailed the Citizens United decision on campaign finance.
Obama said his administration already has identified $2 trillion in government spending cuts that can be made over the next decade. The president touted the $787 billion stimulus plan he signed into law last week, saying it will invest in areas critical to the country's economic recovery. He also made bold promises for what these investments will achieve. Obama predicted that because of the recovery plan, the United States will double its supply of renewable energy in the next three years. He also said the country will invest $15 billion a year to develop technology for green energy.
In March 2009, Obama delivered his first State of the Union amid an economic catastrophe. He called for increased financial regulation, more investments in health care, energy and education. "Tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before," he said.
"Madame Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and the First Lady of the United States: I’ve come here tonight not only to address the distinguished men and women in this great chamber, but to speak frankly and directly to the men and women who sent us here. I know that for many Americans watching right now, the state of our economy is a concern that rises above all others."
"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."
"Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought -- and several thousand gave their lives."
"Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: 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’re also mindful of the empty chair in this chamber, and we pray for the health of our colleague -- and our friend -– Gabby Giffords."