Excerpts of Obama’s State of the Union Address

The White House sent out these excerpts as prepared for delivery. The speech is at 9 p.m.

President Obama and Speaker John Boehner during the State of the Union address on Feb. 12, 2013.
National Journal
Jan. 28, 2014, 1:40 p.m.

“In the com­ing months, let’s see where else we can make pro­gress to­geth­er.  Let’s make this a year of ac­tion.  That’s what most Amer­ic­ans want — for all of us in this cham­ber to fo­cus on their lives, their hopes, their as­pir­a­tions.  And what I be­lieve unites the people of this na­tion, re­gard­less of race or re­gion or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, pro­found be­lief in op­por­tun­ity for all — the no­tion that if you work hard and take re­spons­ib­il­ity, you can get ahead.

Let’s face it: that be­lief has suffered some ser­i­ous blows.  Over more than three dec­ades, even be­fore the Great Re­ces­sion hit, massive shifts in tech­no­logy and glob­al com­pet­i­tion had elim­in­ated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the eco­nom­ic found­a­tions that fam­il­ies de­pend on.

Today, after four years of eco­nom­ic growth, cor­por­ate profits and stock prices have rarely been high­er, and those at the top have nev­er done bet­ter.  But av­er­age wages have barely budged.  In­equal­ity has deepened.  Up­ward mo­bil­ity has stalled.  The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of re­cov­ery, too many Amer­ic­ans are work­ing more than ever just to get by — let alone get ahead.  And too many still aren’t work­ing at all.

Our job is to re­verse these tides.  It won’t hap­pen right away, and we won’t agree on everything.  But what I of­fer to­night is a set of con­crete, prac­tic­al pro­pos­als to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new lad­ders of op­por­tun­ity in­to the middle class.  Some re­quire Con­gres­sion­al ac­tion, and I’m eager to work with all of you.  But Amer­ica does not stand still — and neither will I.  So wherever and whenev­er I can take steps without le­gis­la­tion to ex­pand op­por­tun­ity for more Amer­ic­an fam­il­ies, that’s what I’m go­ing to do.”

“Op­por­tun­ity is who we are.  And the de­fin­ing pro­ject of our gen­er­a­tion is to re­store that prom­ise.”

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