- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Obama speech veers from economy to cover a laundry list of issues
President Obama focused much of his State of the Union address on the economy, but he spent roughly a third of his speaking time Tuesday night on a laundry list of issues, including climate change, gun control, immigration and ease of voting.
Mr. Obama also said the nation has a responsibility to address pay equity for women, cybersecurity, the ongoing housing slump, and ways to improve the nation’s high schools.
If Congress won’t act on climate change, he said, he would use his power as president to issues a series of executive orders to combat the effects of greenhouse gases.
The president argued that ending the scourge of mass shootings and violence by passing stricter gun control regulations is a pressing issue the country can’t avoid, along with changing our immigration laws to account for millions of illegal immigrants living in the U.S.
“Each of these [gun] proposals deserves a vote in Congress ,” he said. “Because in the two months since Newtown, more than 1,000 birthdays, graduations and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.”
Trying to connect some of these issues back to the economy, Mr. Obama said the time has come to change the nation’s immigration laws.
“Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants,” he said. “And right now, leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement and faith communities all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration.”
Even before the speech began, scholars and strategists were urging the president to pare down his unwieldy second-term agenda and focus on spurring the economic growth that eluded him during his first four years in office.
“The problem with laying out an agenda, especially if you lay out a laundry list, is that nobody remembers anything and you can’t do everything,” said Ron Haskins, a senior fellow of economic studies at the Brookings Institution. “But if you lay out a few that are important to the future of the country and these are the four or two things that we’re really going to do, then you can be judged on that.”
The president also tried to bridge the divide between his inaugural address two weeks ago to his pivot to jobs and the economy. Mr. Obama’s inauguration speech focused mainly on equality and social issues instead of spurring job growth and reining in the nation’s deficits.
In his inaugural address, he devoted 19 words and one sentence to the economy and deficit reduction while giving social issues such as pay equity, same-sex marriage, immigration reform and gun control — what the president deemed “our generation’s task” — 358 words and 10 sentences and climate change 160 words and nine sentences.
Tuesday night, Mr. Obama structured the majority of his speech on jobs and the economy — mentioning one or the other at least 40 times.
Striking an aggressive and at times combative tone, Mr. Obama quickly addressed the ongoing budget battles, saying he desperately wants to find a way to avoid deep, across-the-board spending cuts that could rattle an unsteady economic recovery.
The so-called sequester would kick in March 1 with another budget deadline later that month to keep the government funded.
“The politics will be hard for both sides. None of us will get 100 percent of what we want. But the alternative will cost us jobs, hurt our economy and visit hardship on millions of hardworking Americans,” he said. “So let’s set party interests aside and work to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. And let’s do it without the brinkmanship that stresses consumers and scares off investors.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP senators want IG probe of Sebelius' 'Obamacare' fundraising
- Teaming up with Christie, Obama says Jersey shore 'back in business'
- No Moore: Obama flubs name of Oklahoma city devastated by tornado, calls it 'Monroe'
- Obama to Okla. tornado victims: 'We have got your back'
- Amid his own challenges, Obama calls on Navy grads to hold themselves accountable
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Paul takes veiled shot at Cruz, says GOP must focus on growth
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- VIDEO: Emily Miller on Fox Business "The Independents" special "The Gun Show"
- Obama engages in Ukraine diplomacy from Fla. resort as Russia digs in
- Stolen European passports on Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777
- Gates: Obama strategy won't stop Putin
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again