BY NICOLE GIOVINCO
SC Staff Writer
On February 12, 2013, President Obama gave his State of the Union Address. Within his speach he stated that the war in Afghanistan would be over by the end of 2014 and that American soldiers would continue to return home.
President Obama addressed common concerns of the American public. One of the issues discussed early on—and several other times throughout his speech—was the war in Afghanistan. He said that the troops will be coming home, and he reminded listeners that 33 thousand men and women have returned to the United States already.
“Tonight we stand united in saluting the troops and civilians who sacrifice every day to protect us. Because of them, we can say with confidence that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan and achieve our objective of defeating the core of Al Qaeda,” Obama stated. He also said that the organization that attacked us on 9/11 was going to be nothing more than a shadow of what they once were.
The President of the United States spoke about the importance of a strong middle-class.
“A growing economy that creates good middle-class jobs–that must be the North Star that guides our efforts,” said Obama.
The President also emphasized that, under his new tax plan, the wealthiest will be paying more in order to reduce the country’s debt.
“But we can’t ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and most powerful,” explained Obama.
Several times through his State of the Union Address, Obama said, “That’s what we can do together!” and, “We can do this! I believe we can do this!” over the cheering, standing ovations and applause.
Obama proposed to strengthen and help working class families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples. He also mentioned working with states to make high-quality pre-school available to every child in America.
“Because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child, it’s having the courage to raise one, and we want to encourage that, we want to help that!” said Obama.
The President also mentioned programs such as “Fix-it-First” which would put a large number of people to work as soon as possible on urgent repairs, such as the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country.
He also issued a new goal for all Americans: to cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years.
President Obama addressed gun control.
“I felt that the language of the speech was very powerful,” said ESU student Victoria Krukenkamp. “Using the words ‘common sense’ in reference to his proposed gun laws seemed like a risk to me, but I’m glad that he did.”
“I think that it was a very bold move on the President’s part to have people physically in the room to represent the policies that he was speaking about,” continued Krukenkamp. “I expected to see a lot of criticism for that, but I think that it was a very powerful moment that counted on the public’s emotions, and it was played well.”
The President maintained clarity with his stance on large issues. He encouraged the positive strides America has made bringing jobs and manufacturing back to the United States.
“Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico, and this year Apple will start making Macs in America again. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years,” stated Obama.
The President’s theme throughout his speech was that we need to work together and make the proper reforms necessary for the prosperity of the United States in the long run, especially—if for nothing else—for the children of the future.
Governor of the Common Wealth of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, delivered the Republican Response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address. The President and Governor McDonnell agreed on issues such as employment, a strong national defense, the education system and strong families.
“The circumstances of our time demand that we reconsider and restore the proper limited role of government at every level,” urged Governor McDonnell.
He acknowledged several times that all parties are not going to get everything they want, and that it will be hard for both parties. He emphasized that without bipartisanship, the country would not make any future strides.
“The alternative will cost us jobs, hurt our economy, and visit hardship on millions of hardworking Americans. So let’s set party interests aside,” Obama said.
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