US President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address

January 13, 2016 9:30 pm

Barack Obama delivers his last State of the Union speech. Photo / YouTube

Transcript: President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union speech
Eyeing the end of his presidency, Barack Obama urged Americans to rekindle their belief in the promise of change that first carried him to the White House, declaring that the country must not allow election-year fear and division to put economic and security progress at risk.
“All the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air,” Obama said in his final State of the Union address. “So is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker.”
“The of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period.

It’s not even close,” he said.

Polarised response

Reaction to ’s last State of the Union address underscores how polarised Washington is.
Democrats cheered loudly when the president mentioned fixing a broken immigration system, protecting kids from gun violence and raising the minimum wage. Republicans remained in their seats, some even avoiding any applause.
House Speaker Paul Ryan criticised President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address – while it was being delivered.
Ryan said in a statement released by his office that after 30 minutes, Obama’s speech “isn’t going so well.” Ryan says “lofty platitudes and nostalgic rhetoric may make for nice soundbites, but they don’t explain how to” solve problems, such as defeating the Islamic State terrorist group, fixing social safety net programs or getting the economy back on track.
Ryan said Obama’s speech “isn’t a real path forward to restore a confident America,” adding, “We can do so much better.”

Islamic State

Obama says if Congress is serious about winning the war against the Islamic State group, it should pass a new war powers resolution for the fight.
Obama says in his final State of the Union address that with or without Congress, IS will learn that when you come after Americans, the U.S. comes after you. He says it may take time but the U.S. has long memories and unlimited reach.
He says both al-Qaida and IS represent a “direct threat” to Americans. But Obama says the can’t try to take over or rebuild every country in crisis. He says that’s a recipe for quagmire and American deaths.
Obama says the U.S. doesn’t need over-the-top claims about the Islamic State group to show the U.S. is serious about defeating it.
He is dismissing the idea that IS threatens America’s existence in his State of the Union address. Obama says that’s the story IS wants to tell and the message it uses in propaganda to recruit. He says references to World War III just play into the extremist group’s hands.
Obama is also criticising those who say IS represents Islam. He says that’s a lie and says rhetoric like that pushes away allies the U.S. needs to win the fight. He’s alluding to Republican politicians who have demanded Obama declare war on “radical Islamic extremists.”
The president says IS is made up of killers, fanatics and twisted souls. He’s repeating his declaration that the U.S. will hunt them down and destroy them.

Climate change

In his speech, President Barack Obama said those who try to dispute the science of climate change will end up “pretty lonely.”
Obama is touting his efforts to fight global warming in his final State of the Union address. He says those doubting global warming are welcome to “have at it.” He says they’ll be on the opposite side of the military, most businesses, a majority of Americans and almost all scientists.
The president says investing in climate solutions is also a chance for U.S. businesses to produce “the energy of the future.” He’s pointing to wind and solar technology.
The president is adding that 200 nations around the world agree climate change is a problem that must be solved. He’s alluding to the global climate pact the U.S. and other nations reached in Paris in December.

Gun control

President Barack Obama isn’t dwelling on his gun control initiative in his final State of the Union address.
Obama’s only reference to the issue was a six-word call for progress on “protecting our kids from gun violence.” He sandwiched it in between calls for fixing immigration and ensuring equal pay.
Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress comes just one week after he unveiled a series of unilateral actions to reduce gun violence, including an attempt to expand background checks. That plan has drawn consternation from Republicans in Congress and gun rights groups.
The president has also renewed his call for Congress to pass new gun laws – a longshot in an election year. But he didn’t bring that up in his State of the Union speech.

Benghazi Attacks

President Barack Obama points to the capture of a Libyan militant accused in the 2012 attacks that killed four Americans in Benghazi as evidence of US resolve against terrorists.
The president holds out the imprisonment of Ahmed Abu Khattala as a sign of the U.S. commitment to see that justice is done.
It’s the first time the president has made reference to the Benghazi attacks in a State of the Union address.
The attacks have become a flashpoint in the US presidential campaign and remain under investigation by a special House committee.
Obama, in his speech text, says terrorists should know that “when you come after Americans, we go after you.”

Skip to toolbar
shared on