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Obama's State of the Union address both bold and modest (+video)

Little in the president's State of the Union address was new – he's touched on the ideas many times before – but he didn't seem to be in a mood to bow to Republicans.

By Staff Writer / February 13, 2013

President Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gestures as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday.

Charles Dharapak/AP



President Obama in his 2013 State of the Union laid out an expansive vision for government efforts to help boost the American middle class, called upon Congress to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform, announced that the US effort in Afghanistan will end next year, and made an emotional plea for greater restrictions on firearms that invoked the heartache bullets have wrought in Newtown, Conn.; Aurora, Colo.; Tucson, Ariz.; Blacksburg, Va.; and every other town in the nation touched by gun violence.

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The speech was modest in the sense that it touched upon many of the president’s longstanding proposals, as opposed to new, sweeping initiatives.

As he did in the campaign, Mr. Obama offered some reductions in the nation’s big health-care entitlement programs in exchange for raising more revenues by closing tax “loopholes.” He repeated his push to raise the minimum wage, this time to $9 an hour, instead of the $9.50 per hour he asked for in 2008 as president-elect. The president called for preschool to be affordable for all US parents, and said the nation needed to revamp its high schools to better prepare students for jobs in the burgeoning high-tech economy.

“It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love,” said Obama.

But the address was bold in another sense: a reelected chief executive did not appear in the mood to bow in the direction of the other party. While he refrained from criticizing Republicans by name and generally steered clear of obvious partisan shots, he outlined a government-centric approach to improving the US that could have been compiled from 2012 stump speeches.

That’s the theme Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida hit in his GOP response.

“More government isn’t going to help you get ahead. It’s going to hold you back. More government isn’t going to create more opportunities. It’s going to limit them,” said Senator Rubio.


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