President Barack Obama gave his final State of the Union address Tuesday, in a speech that carried a different tone from previous ones. At the outset the President set the tone, letting listeners know that this one would be a bit different.
“Tonight marks the eighth year that I’ve come here to report on the state of the Union,” said Obama. “And for this final one, I’m going to try to make it a little shorter.” However, his speech was not just shorter, but also set the tone for the future of America.
In his speech, Obama promised not to be just a ‘lame duck’ president, but to keep pushing for reforms to the immigration system, gun violence, equal pay, and more.
“They’re still the right thing to do, and I won’t let up until they get done. But for my final address to this chamber, I don’t want to just talk about next year. I want to focus on the next five years, the next 10 years and beyond. I want to focus on our future,” he said.
According to aides, the goal of the president’s speech was to present an upbeat, optimistic view of America after seven years that will contrast with the gloomy portrayals offered by Republican candidates.
“Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future, who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, who promised to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control. And each time, we overcame those fears,” said Obama.
“All the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. Let me tell you something. The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth, period. Period.”
The president touted strong job creation numbers, the reformations of the health care system, and the transpacific partnership.
The president also alluded to a major rollout coming in the next few weeks that will be headed by Vice President Joe Biden as a “moon shot” to cure cancer.
Closing, the president referenced immigration and the diversity of America that makes this country great.
“Our brand of democracy is hard,” he said. “But I can promise that, a little over a year from now, when I no longer hold this office, I will be right there with you as a citizen, inspired by those voices of fairness and vision, of grit and good humor and kindness that have helped America travel so far.
“Voices that help us see ourselves not first and foremost as Black or White or Asian or Latino; not as gay or straight, immigrant or native born; not Democrat or Republican; but as Americans first, bound by a common creed.
“Voices Dr. King believed would have the final word—voices of unarmed truth and unconditional love. And they’re out there, those voices. They don’t get a lot of attention. They don’t seek a lot of fanfare, but they’re busy doing the work this country needs doing. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.”