Loading text...
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, my fellow Americans:
We are 15 years into this new century. Fifteen years that dawned with terror
touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and
costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the
world. It has been, and still is, a hard time for many.
But tonight, we turn the page.
Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and
creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our unemployment rate is now lower
than it was before the financial crisis. More of our kids are graduating than
ever before; more of our people are insured than ever before; we are as free
from the grip of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years.
Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is
over. Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Today, fewer than 15,000 remain. And we salute the courage and
sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 Generation who has served to keep
us safe. We are humbled and grateful for your service.
America, for all that we've endured; for all the grit and hard work required to
come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this: The shadow of crisis has
passed, and the State of the Union is strong.
At this moment - with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry
and booming energy production - we have risen from recession freer to write our
own future than any other nation on Earth. It's now up to us to choose who we
want to be over the next 15 years, and for decades to come.
Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will
we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for
everyone who makes the effort?
Will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts
that strain our military and set back our standing? Or will we lead wisely,
using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet?
Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one
another - or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always
propelled America forward?
In two weeks, I will send this Congress a budget filled with ideas that are
practical, not partisan. And in the months ahead, I'll crisscross the country
making a case for those ideas.
So tonight, I want to focus less on a checklist of proposals, and focus more on
the values at stake in the choices before us.
It begins with our economy.
Seven years ago, Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis were newlyweds. She waited
tables. He worked construction. Their first child, Jack, was on the way. They
were young and in love in America, and it doesn't get much better than that.
"If only we had known," Rebekah wrote to me last spring, "what was about to
happen to the housing and construction market."
As the crisis worsened, Ben's business dried up, so he took what jobs he could
find, even if they kept him on the road for long stretches of time. Rebekah took
out student loans, enrolled in community college, and retrained for a new
career. They sacrificed for each other. And slowly, it paid off. They bought
their first home. They had a second son, Henry. Rebekah got a better job, and
then a raise. Ben is back in construction - and home for dinner every night.
"It is amazing," Rebekah wrote, "what you can bounce back from when you have
to.we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very
hard times."
We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard
America, Rebekah and Ben's story is our story. They represent the millions who
have worked hard, and scrimped, and sacrificed, and retooled. You are the reason
I ran for this office. You're the people I was thinking of six years ago today,
in the darkest months of the crisis, when I stood on the steps of this Capitol
and promised we would rebuild our economy on a new foundation. And it's been
your effort and resilience that has made it possible for our country to emerge
We believed we could reverse the tide of outsourcing, and draw new jobs to our
shores. And over the past five years, our businesses have created more than 11
million new jobs.
We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our
planet. And today, America is No. 1 in oil and gas. America is No. 1 in wind
power. Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all
of 2008. And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical
family this year should save $750 at the pump.
We believed we could prepare our kids for a more competitive world. And today,
our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record.
Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high. And more Americans
finish college than ever before.
We believed that sensible regulations could prevent another crisis, shield
families from ruin, and encourage fair competition. Today, we have new tools to
stop taxpayer-funded bailouts, and a new consumer watchdog to protect us from
predatory lending and abusive credit card practices. And in the past year alone,
about 10 million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health
At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we
would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we've seen the fastest economic
growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has
doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in 50 years.
So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity
works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don't get
in the way. We can't slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with
government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We can't put the security of families
at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on
Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we've got a system
to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it
will earn my veto.
Today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more
lives. Wages are finally starting to rise again. We know that more small
business owners plan to raise their employees' pay than at any time since 2007.
But here's the thing - those of us here tonight, we need to set our sights
higher than just making sure government doesn't halt the progress we're making.
We need to do more than just do no harm. Tonight, together, let's do more to
restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American.
Because families like Rebekah's still need our help. She and Ben are working as
hard as ever, but have to forego vacations and a new car so they can pay off
student loans and save for retirement. Basic childcare for Jack and Henry costs
more than their mortgage, and almost as much as a year at the University of
Minnesota. Like millions of hardworking Americans, Rebekah isn't asking for a
handout, but she is asking that we look for more ways to help families get
In fact, at every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country
has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances, and to make sure everyone
gets a fair shot. We set up worker protections, Social Security, Medicare and
Medicaid to protect ourselves from the harshest adversity. We gave our citizens
schools and colleges, infrastructure and the internettools they needed to go
as far as their effort will take them.
That's what middle-class economics is - the idea that this country does best
when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone
plays by the same set of rules. We don't just want everyone to share in
America's success - we want everyone to contribute to our success.
So what does middle-class economics require in our time?
First - middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure
in a world of constant change. That means helping folks afford childcare,
college, health care, a home, retirement - and my budget will address each of
these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of
dollars back into their pockets each year.
Here's one example. During World War II, when men like my grandfather went off
to war, having women like my grandmother in the workforce was a national
security priority - so this country provided universal childcare. In today's
economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for
many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It's
not a nice-to-have - it's a must-have. It's time we stop treating childcare as a
side issue, or a women's issue, and treat it like the national economic priority
that it is for all of us. And that's why my plan will make quality childcare
more available, and more affordable, for every middle-class and low-income
family with young children in America - by creating more slots and a new tax cut
of up to $3,000 per child, per year.
Here's another example. Today, we're the only advanced country on Earth that
doesn't guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. Forty-
three million workers have no paid sick leave. Forty-three million. Think about
that. And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between
a paycheck and a sick kid at home. So I'll be taking new action to help states
adopt paid leave laws of their own. And since paid sick leave won where it was
on the ballot last November, let's put it to a vote right here in Washington.
Send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven
days of paid sick leave. It's the right thing to do.
Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. That's why
this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same
as a man for doing the same work. Really. It's 2015. It's time. We still need to
make sure employees get the overtime they've earned. And to everyone in this
Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly
believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a
year, go try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in
America a raise.
These ideas won't make everybody rich, or relieve every hardship. That's not the
job of government. To give working families a fair shot, we'll still need more
employers to see beyond next quarter's earnings and recognize that investing in
their workforce is in their company's long-term interest. We still need laws
that strengthen rather than weaken unions, and give American workers a voice.
But things like child care and sick leave and equal pay; things like lower
mortgage premiums and a higher minimum wage - these ideas will make a meaningful
difference in the lives of millions of families. That is a fact. And that's what
all of us - Republicans and Democrats alike - were sent here to do.
Second, to make sure folks keep earning higher wages down the road, we have to
do more to help Americans upgrade their skills.
America thrived in the 20th century because we made high school free, sent a
generation of GIs to college, and trained the best workforce in the world. But
in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to
do more.
By the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher
education. Two in three. And yet, we still live in a country where too many
bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need. It's not
fair to them, and it's not smart for our future.
That's why I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of
community college - to zero.
Forty percent of our college students choose community college. Some are young
and starting out. Some are older and looking for a better job. Some are veterans
and single parents trying to transition back into the job market. Whoever you
are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy, without a
load of debt. Understand, you've got to earn ityou've got to keep your grades
up and graduate on time. Tennessee, a state with Republican leadership, and
Chicago, a city with Democratic leadership, are showing that free community
college is possible. I want to spread that idea all across America, so that two
years of college becomes as free and universal in America as high school is
today. And I want to work with this Congress, to make sure Americans already
burdened with student loans can reduce their monthly payments, so that student
debt doesn't derail anyone's dreams.
Thanks to Vice President Biden's great work to update our job training system,
we're connecting community colleges with local employers to train workers to
fill high-paying jobs like coding, and nursing, and robotics. Tonight, I'm also
asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like CVS and UPS, and
offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships - opportunities that
give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs even if they don't have a
higher education.
And as a new generation of veterans comes home, we owe them every opportunity to
live the American Dream they helped defend. Already, we've made strides towards
ensuring that every veteran has access to the highest quality care. We're
slashing the backlog that had too many veterans waiting years to get the
benefits they need, and we're making it easier for vets to translate their
training and experience into civilian jobs. Joining Forces, the national
campaign launched by Michelle and Jill Biden, has helped nearly 700,000 veterans
and military spouses get new jobs. So to every CEO in America, let me repeat: If
you want somebody who's going to get the job done, hire a veteran.
Finally, as we better train our workers, we need the new economy to keep
churning out high-wage jobs for our workers to fill.
Since 2010, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan and all
advanced economies combined. Our manufacturers have added almost 800,000 new
jobs. Some of our bedrock sectors, like our auto industry, are booming. But
there are also millions of Americans who work in jobs that didn't even exist ten
or twenty years ago - jobs at companies like Google, and eBay and Tesla.
So no one knows for certain which industries will generate the jobs of the
future. But we do know we want them here in America. That's why the third part
of middle-class economics is about building the most competitive economy
anywhere, the place where businesses want to locate and hire.
Twenty-first century businesses need 21st century infrastructure - modern ports,
stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet. Democrats and
Republicans used to agree on this. So let's set our sights higher than a single
oil pipeline. Let's pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more
than thirty times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for
decades to come.
Twenty-first century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more
American products overseas. Today, our businesses export more than ever, and
exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. But as we speak, China wants
to write the rules for the world's fastest-growing region. That would put our
workers and businesses at a disadvantage. Why would we let that happen? We
should write those rules. We should level the playing field. That's why I'm
asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American
workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren't just free,
but fair.
Look, I'm the first one to admit that past trade deals haven't always lived up
to the hype, and that's why we've gone after countries that break the rules at
our expense. But 95 percent of the world's customers live outside our borders,
and we can't close ourselves off from those opportunities. More than half of
manufacturing executives have said they're actively looking at bringing jobs
back from China. Let's give them one more reason to get it done.
Twenty-first century businesses will rely on American science, technology,
research and development. I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped
the human genome to lead a new era of medicine - one that delivers the right
treatment at the right time. In some patients with cystic fibrosis, this
approach has reversed a disease once thought unstoppable. Tonight, I'm launching
a new Precision Medicine Initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like
cancer and diabetes - and to give all of us access to the personalized
information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier.
I intend to protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every
classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so
that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the
platform to keep reshaping our world.
I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new
jobs - converting sunlight into liquid fuel; creating revolutionary prosthetics,
so that a veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kid;
pushing out into the solar system not just to visit, but to stay. Last month, we
launched a new spacecraft as part of a re-energized space program that will send
American astronauts to Mars. In two months, to prepare us for those missions,
Scott Kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. Good luck, captain - and make
sure to Instagram it.
Now, the truth is, when it comes to issues like infrastructure and basic
research, I know there's bipartisan support in this chamber. Members of both
parties have told me so. Where we too often run onto the rocks is how to pay for
these investments. As Americans, we don't mind paying our fair share of taxes,
as long as everybody else does, too. But for far too long, lobbyists have rigged
the tax code with loopholes that let some corporations pay nothing while others
pay full freight. They've riddled it with giveaways the superrich don't need,
denying a break to middle class families who do.
This year, we have an opportunity to change that. Let's close loopholes so we
stop rewarding companies that keep profits abroad, and reward those that invest
in America. Let's use those savings to rebuild our infrastructure and make it
more attractive for companies to bring jobs home. Let's simplify the system and
let a small business owner file based on her actual bank statement, instead of
the number of accountants she can afford. And let's close the loopholes that
lead to inequality by allowing the top one percent to avoid paying taxes on
their accumulated wealth. We can use that money to help more families pay for
childcare and send their kids to college. We need a tax code that truly helps
working Americans trying to get a leg up in the new economy, and we can achieve
that together.
Helping hardworking families make ends meet. Giving them the tools they need for
good-paying jobs in this new economy. Maintaining the conditions for growth and
competitiveness. This is where America needs to go. I believe it's where the
American people want to go. It will make our economy stronger a year from now,
15 years from now, and deep into the century ahead.
Of course, if there's one thing this new century has taught us, it's that we
cannot separate our work at home from challenges beyond our shores.
My first duty as commander in chief is to defend the United States of America.
In doing so, the question is not whether America leads in the world, but how.
When we make rash decisions, reacting to the headlines instead of using our
heads; when the first response to a challenge is to send in our military - then
we risk getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts, and neglect the broader
strategy we need for a safer, more prosperous world. That's what our enemies
want us to do.
I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership. We lead best when we combine
military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition
building; when we don't let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this
new century presents. That's exactly what we're doing right now - and around the
globe, it is making a difference.
First, we stand united with people around the world who've been targeted by
terrorists - from a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris. We will continue
to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right
to act unilaterally, as we've done relentlessly since I took office to take out
terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies.
At the same time, we've learned some costly lessons over the last 13 years.
Instead of Americans patrolling the valleys of Afghanistan, we've trained their
security forces, who've now taken the lead, and we've honored our troops'
sacrifice by supporting that country's first democratic transition. Instead of
sending large ground forces overseas, we're partnering with nations from South
Asia to North Africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten America. In
Iraq and Syria, American leadershipincluding our military power - is stopping
ISIL's advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle
East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and
ultimately destroy this terrorist group. We're also supporting a moderate
opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people
everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism. This
effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed. And tonight,
I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by
passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL.
Second, we are demonstrating the power of American strength and diplomacy. We're
upholding the principle that bigger nations can't bully the small - by opposing
Russian aggression, supporting Ukraine's democracy, and reassuring our NATO
allies. Last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along
with our allies, some suggested that Mr. Putin's aggression was a masterful
display of strategy and strength. Well, today, it is America that stands strong
and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated, with its economy in
That's how America leads - not with bluster, but with persistent, steady
In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When
what you're doing doesn't work for 50 years, it's time to try something new. Our
shift in Cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our
hemisphere; removes a phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba; stands up for
democratic values; and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people. And
this year, Congress should begin the work of ending the embargo. As His
Holiness, Pope Francis, has said, diplomacy is the work of "small steps." These
small steps have added up to new hope for the future in Cuba. And after years in
prison, we're overjoyed that Alan Gross is back where he belongs. Welcome home,
Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a
decade, we've halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its
stockpile of nuclear material. Between now and this spring, we have a chance to
negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran; secures
America and our allies - including Israel; while avoiding yet another Middle
East conflict. There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I
keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran. But new sanctions
passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that
diplomacy fails - alienating America from its allies; and ensuring that Iran
starts up its nuclear program again. It doesn't make sense. That is why I will
veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress. The American
people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true
to that wisdom.
Third, we're looking beyond the issues that have consumed us in the past to
shape the coming century.
No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal
our trade secrets or invade the privacy of American families, especially our
kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber
threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. And tonight, I urge this
Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving
threat of cyberattacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children's
information. If we don't act, we'll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable.
If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold
opportunities for people around the globe.
In West Africa, our troops, our scientists, our doctors, our nurses and
healthcare workers are rolling back Ebola - saving countless lives and stopping
the spread of disease. I couldn't be prouder of them, and I thank this Congress
for your bipartisan support of their efforts. But the job is not yet done - and
the world needs to use this lesson to build a more effective global effort to
prevent the spread of future pandemics, invest in smart development, and
eradicate extreme poverty.
In the Asia Pacific, we are modernizing alliances while making sure that other
nations play by the rules - in how they trade, how they resolve maritime
disputes, and how they participate in meeting common international challenges
like nonproliferation and disaster relief. And no challenge - no challenge - 
poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.
2014 was the planet's warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn't make a
trend, but this does - 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in
the first 15 years of this century.
I've heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they're not
scientists; that we don't have enough information to act. Well, I'm not a
scientist, either. But you know what - I know a lot of really good scientists at
NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world
are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do
not act forcefully, we'll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat
waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger
greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that
climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act
like it.
That's why, over the past six years, we've done more than ever before to combat
climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it. That's why
we've set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history.
And that's why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children
by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure American
leadership drives international action. In Beijing, we made an historic
announcement - the United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon
pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions.
And because the world's two largest economies came together, other nations are
now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach
an agreement to protect the one planet we've got.
There's one last pillar to our leadership - and that's the example of our
As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we're threatened, which is why
I've prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like
drones is properly constrained. It's why we speak out against the deplorable
anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It's why we
continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims - the vast majority of whom
share our commitment to peace. That's why we defend free speech, and advocate
for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious
minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We do these
things not only because they're right, but because they make us safer.
As Americans, we have a profound commitment to justice - so it makes no sense to
spend three million dollars per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world
condemns and terrorists use to recruit. Since I've been president, we've worked
responsibly to cut the population of Gitmo in half. Now it's time to finish the
job. And I will not relent in my determination to shut it down. It's not who we
As Americans, we cherish our civil liberties - and we need to uphold that
commitment if we want maximum cooperation from other countries and industry in
our fight against terrorist networks. So while some have moved on from the
debates over our surveillance programs, I haven't. As promised, our intelligence
agencies have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy advocates, to
increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse. And
next month, we'll issue a report on how we're keeping our promise to keep our
country safe while strengthening privacy.
Looking to the future instead of the past. Making sure we match our power with
diplomacy, and use force wisely. Building coalitions to meet new challenges and
opportunities. Leading - always - with the example of our values. That's what
makes us exceptional. That's what keeps us strong. And that's why we must keep
striving to hold ourselves to the highest of standards - our own.
You know, just over a decade ago, I gave a speech in Boston where I said there
wasn't a liberal America, or a conservative America; a black America or a white
America - but a United States of America. I said this because I had seen it in
my own life, in a nation that gave someone like me a chance; because I grew up
in Hawaii, a melting pot of races and customs; because I made Illinois my home - 
a state of small towns, rich farmland, and one of the world's great cities; a
microcosm of the country where Democrats and Republicans and Independents, good
people of every ethnicity and every faith, share certain bedrock values.
Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my
presidency hasn't delivered on this vision. How ironic, they say, that our
politics seems more divided than ever. It's held up as proof not just of my own
flaws - of which there are many - but also as proof that the vision itself is
misguided, and naïve, and that there are too many people in this town who
actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about
I know how tempting such cynicism may be. But I still think the cynics are
I still believe that we are one people. I still believe that together, we can do
great things, even when the odds are long. I believe this because over and over
in my six years in office, I have seen America at its best. I've seen the
hopeful faces of young graduates from New York to California; and our newest
officers at West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs and New London. I've mourned
with grieving families in Tucson and Newtown; in Boston, West Texas, and West
Virginia. I've watched Americans beat back adversity from the Gulf Coast to the
Great Plains; from Midwest assembly lines to the mid-Atlantic seaboard. I've
seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to
a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that
seven in 10 Americans call home.
So I know the good, and optimistic, and big-hearted generosity of the American
people who, every day, live the idea that we are our brother's keeper, and our
sister's keeper. And I know they expect those of us who serve here to set a
better example.
So the question for those of us here tonight is how we, all of us, can better
reflect America's hopes. I've served in Congress with many of you. I know many
of you well. There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle.
And many of you have told me that this isn't what you signed up for - arguing
past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over
your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision.
Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something
Understand - a better politics isn't one where Democrats abandon their agenda or
Republicans simply embrace mine.
A better politics is one where we appeal to each other's basic decency instead
of our basest fears.
A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we
talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than "gotcha"
moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with
people's daily lives.
A better politics is one where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads
that pull us into the gutter, and spend more time lifting young people up, with
a sense of purpose and possibility, and asking them to join in the great mission
of building America.
If we're going to have arguments, let's have arguments - but let's make them
debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country.
We still may not agree on a woman's right to choose, but surely we can agree
it's a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows,
and that every woman should have access to the health care she needs.
Yes, passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of
ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a
hardworking mom is taken from her child, and that it's possible to shape a law
that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
We may go at it in campaign season, but surely we can agree that the right to
vote is sacred; that it's being denied to too many; and that, on this 50th
anniversary of the great march from Selma to Montgomery and the passage of the
Voting Rights Act, we can come together, Democrats and Republicans, to make
voting easier for every single American.
We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York. But surely
we can understand a father who fears his son can't walk home without being
harassed. Surely we can understand the wife who won't rest until the police
officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift. Surely
we can agree it's a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime
rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a
starting point for Democrats and Republicans, community leaders and law
enforcement, to reform America's criminal justice system so that it protects and
serves us all.
That's a better politics. That's how we start rebuilding trust. That's how we
move this country forward. That's what the American people want. That's what
they deserve.
I have no more campaigns to run. My only agenda for the next two years is the
same as the one I've had since the day I swore an oath on the steps of this
Capitol - to do what I believe is best for America. If you share the broad
vision I outlined tonight, join me in the work at hand. If you disagree with
parts of it, I hope you'll at least work with me where you do agree. And I
commit to every Republican here tonight that I will not only seek out your
ideas, I will seek to work with you to make this country stronger.
Because I want this chamber, this city, to reflect the truth - that for all our
blind spots and shortcomings, we are a people with the strength and generosity
of spirit to bridge divides, to unite in common effort, and help our neighbors,
whether down the street or on the other side of the world.
I want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood: your life
matters, and we are as committed to improving your life chances as we are for
our own kids.
I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences
as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every
citizen - man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino and Asian,
immigrant and Native American, gay and straight, Americans with mental illness
or physical disability.
I want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to
be true: that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states;
that we are the United States of America.
I want them to grow up in a country where a young mom like Rebekah can sit down
and write a letter to her President with a story to sum up these past six years:
"It is amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to . we are a strong,
tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times."
My fellow Americans, we too are a strong, tight-knit family. We, too, have made
it through some hard times. Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked
ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking
America. We've laid a new foundation. A brighter future is ours to write. Let's
begin this new chapter - together - and let's start the work right now.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless this country we love.
Selected word: (search)

Frequency in the corpus (click to view):


Word usage statistics for “

Percentage of words uncommon in each year:
The lines show the % of words more common earlier, later, or both.

This text has been saved! Copy this link to share it or access it in the future:

The server encountered an error saving the text.
blue words are more common earlier
red words are more common later
yellow words are more common both earlier and later
blue words have average frequency below the selected value
red words are not found in the corpus at all
red words are omitted from the selected dictionary
blue words are marked as rare or obsolete
yellow words are marked as vulgar, colloquial, or improper
This interactive text was created by The Distance Machine, a tool that highlights words that are uncommon in texts from a particular point in the past.
Use the controls at the top left to see what words are uncommon in texts from different years, to find words in the text that were omitted from a given dictionary, or to find very uncommon words. When highlighting words by year or frequency, you can also click the play button to animate. Double-click or tap on words in the text to see details, including the full historical usage data and dictionary entries.
About this program | How it works | Legal