With his re-election at stake, President Obama in his State of the Union address late Tuesday said "no challenge is more urgent" than keeping the American dream alive.
He laid out his plan for reinvigorating the economy by again calling for the wealthy to pay more in taxes. He called for lowering corporate taxes and providing incentives for U.S. manufacturers to bring overseas jobs back to America, while ending tax breaks for businesses that continue to outsource. Obama also ordered his administration to open up 75% of potential offshore oil and gas resources. He also challenged Congress to act on comprehensive immigration reform, and he called for legislation like the DREAM Act that offers children of illegal immigrants who go to college or serve in the military a path to possible citizenship.
Read the president's speech | Key points of his speech
Whether he can get a divided Congress to act on the issues he set forth Tuesday night will be a big question during his re-election campaign. As CNN contributor Julian Zelizer asks: Is the Obama presidency "built to last"? But perhaps the bigger issue is: Can Obama get the support of a frustrated nation behind him to give him another term?
Zennie Abraham told CNN iReport that he was impressed by Obama's State of the Union address, which he saw as a wholehearted and necessary embrace of a pro-U.S. trade policy.
"The President now realizes that nationalism is the one approach that will save America, whereas when he first took office, our allies, like France and Germany, were trying to talk him into maintaining the 'free trade is good' policy that has harmed America," Abraham said. "In doing so, Obama also hones his case for good old-fashioned Liberalism."
Abraham, from Oakland, California, said he felt Obama delivered "an excellent speech," one that was right for our struggling country, and took the steps to begin showing just how he will turn it around.
"He outlined the role of government in our lives as it is needed in our lives now to improve America and restore our standard of living," he said.
But Vernon Hill, a conservative-leaning voter, was generally disappointed with the State of the Union speech, and doesn't think that Obama has achieved enough to deserve another term as president.
Hill felt there were many more issues that Obama needed to address that had been hampering his ability to get anything done.
"Obama has been his own worst enemy by surrounding himself with people who will not disagree with him and whom have no business backgrounds," he argued.
Hill, who is from Morehead City, North Carolina, said he felt the president is a "master storyteller," but needed to talk more actual substance about bypassing Congress, the Keystone XL pipeline project, the deficit, and the current cost of gas. So, for him, Obama's speech was just another example of "more promises and hope." And Hill said Obama hasn't shown that he can go past rhetoric and deliver results.
"If he can't succeed in three years, four more years would be more failure on his part," he said. "Obama has been his own worst enemy."
Egberto Willies told CNN iReport that Obama needed to go harder and more forcefully moving forward.
"I hope Obama does take a more aggressive approach. People like his calm approach. They know his accomplishments but they are still in dire straits," he said. "He must point specifically to the root of our current demise, and forcefully state that being given a second term with a Congress willing to work for the American people, as opposed to an ideology, is essential."
Willies, from Kingwood, Texas, said he did however think Obama took the first steps toward that goal by delivering an appropriately articulated speech that presented how he will move his vision forward. Willies said he believes the speech will help get the president re-elected.
"It is likely the best State of the Union address that he has ever given," Willies said.
Willies said he thought Obama was able to tout his specific accomplishments, while refuting what he saw as fallacies being floated by the Republicans about his policies. And he told the American people that regardless of the gridlock, he would find a way to help them, Willies said.
"He also most importantly said where he has the power to act, he will, and if Congress comes along it would be better," he said.
Willies, who attended a watch party, interviewed several guests about what they thought about Obama's speech. Several of the people there said they thought it was an "excellent speech," one that touched on all of the issues he needs to be talking about. And many of those people said they were pleasantly surprised that Obama delivered even more than they had expected in his fight for a strong middle class.
But not everyone praised Obama's ideas or believes he can pull off the feat of bringing the government together to create change.
A commenter with the username xtallake said that Obama's ideas are just not the right ones for this country.
"He is too far liberal and the cause of the completely divided Congress. And he doesn't even know it," xtallake wrote. "He needs to unite and compromise...but he doesn't. He will not be re-elected again....unless he actually tries to work with the other side. We need a uniter."
Longtime iReporter and political junkie Omekongo Dibinga is optimistic about Obama's presidency after watching Tuesday night's address, but believes Obama has a way to go before his rhetoric and accomplishments come into alignment.
"Presidents are generally more aggressive with their agenda on their second time around," Dibinga said. "The main thing I want to see are long-lasting improvements in education."
For him, it is time for Obama's rhetoric to really bear some fruit. And while he feels that Obama delivered some strong ideas that set him apart from the Republican candidates' offerings, the proof of whether Obama is the right one to lead will be in the results, he said.
"'I am indeed optimistic but I just haven't seen some of the things he was talking about bear themselves out over the past three years," he said.
Mark Ivy agreed that Obama presented some solid ideas during his speech that delivered plenty of red meat to his base, but said that Obama needs to address the national debt and deficit spending in order to attract swing voters and win re-election.
"'We are all in this together. We must all be willing to give a little," he said. "The number one way to attack the debt and attract Independents and Republicans is a real plan of attack on the tax breaks, the tax deductions that cause the disparity in the effective tax rates. This must (be) done across the board."
Ivy, who is from Farmersburg, Indiana, said he believed closing the "loopholes" would have a real impact, and it is a move he believes both Republicans and independents can support.
The speech, Ivy said, was a "populist and mostly moderate course of action for the next 10 months." But Ivy said he wished the president had discussed even more specifics rather than general themes.
Overall, Ivy thought Obama gave an "excellent stump speech."
"But he offered nothing that would inspire or win over Republicans or independents," Ivy said. "While I give the President kudos for his closing and mentioning Seal Team 6 and the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden, there was very little new and nothing to breathe life into our sagging economy or to stymie the ruptured artery of debt siphoning the life from the nation."
But not all of those who generally oppose Obama thought he did all that badly in laying out his vision for the country.
"Forgive me. I am a Republican and a Conservative. But I just cannot deny that Obama is EXACTLY what the country needs right now," user SteedLaw commented. "What I just heard is what every American has been waiting to hear. Can he achieve it? Well, it sounds like Congress just needs to get those bills put together. Otherwise, I think it is safe to say it is curtains for the GOP this round.
"Obama may not be many things, but there is no doubt he is a true leader. Until I hear anything of that magnitude come from the mouth of a republican candidate (which I doubt), Obama can count on my vote."
That's a sentiment other readers echoed, wondering if what Obama did last night shines a spotlight on the GOP and what it is offering – or not offering.
"Obama is not the perfect choice, but the best one for 2012," a user named imdudesdad commented. "The Republicans offer nobody who can do better. With them, it's more Bush policies and maybe worse – attacking Iran for another expensive government spending program. Obama isn't perfect, but is by far the best."
Adriana Maxwell said she thinks that Obama's State of the Union address was great oration, but she's skeptical about how much of his agenda will actually be put into action unless he attempts to compromise with the GOP-controlled house.
After talking about several of the plans that Obama mentioned Tuesday night, Maxwell said she suspects that Republicans will argue his plans will only increase the size of the government and not actually save money for consumers.
"Occasionally Speaker Boehner and other Republican leadership will comment that they haven't spoken to the President about the legislation," she said. "It gives the appearance the that the White House is not cooperating on domestic issues."
And that could be a big issue, based on all of the plans Obama laid out Tuesday night. If he can't get support, he'll be forced to try to go at it alone, and that's something Maxwell said she thinks isn't exactly the best idea. She said there needs to be a real effort by the president to lead a collaborative effort to turn the nation around from what she calls a "state of disunion."
One commenter, Mike500, said the speech only solidified his opinion that Obama was the worst leader since President Jimmy Carter.
"More class warfare. More big government. More spending other people's money," he wrote. "Truly sad."
Independent voter Melissa Fazli was motivated by the State of the Union address to support Obama's re-election campaign. She says she strongly supports Obama's call to investigate and bring prosecution against the lending practices that led to the housing crisis.
As a former real estate agent, she said she saw mortgages that never should have being given. So when Obama announced his special task force, it hit Fazli hard.
"I was literally brought to tears," she said.
She added she hoped that Attorney General Eric Holder would take Obama's message to heart and work to bring real justice to those "that were bamboozled by these big banks."
"I would like to see it enforced by everyone using social media everyday to keep it on Obama's table until indictments are made," she said. "I would love to see some of these banks go directly to jail and not collect even $200 along the way."
Obama's statement didn't just make her get teary-eyed. It also convinced her to make a drastic change, proving that perhaps for some, Obama did do enough to restore their faith in him.
"I have something to confess," she said. "As a 22-year registered voter of the American Independent Party I am switching over to the Democratic Party. I believe in a democratic society, for the people and by the people and President Barack Obama has convinced me to switch from an Independent to a Democrat."
While she voted for Obama in 2008, she felt that Tuesday's speech cemented her belief in his views.
"I realize after listening to all the GOP candidates and listening to Obama's State of the Union address that I am really a Democrat, so much so, that I printed out my voter registration form and already switched to the Democratic Party."
As a Democrat voter, I was so proud of our President,I beleive it was one of the best speeches to the nation ever. What a wonderfull country this would be if we could work together to make it the best.
OMG. Hook, line, and sinker.
I agree...Bird !!
It sounds better than the GOP that wants to go back to the failed policies of the last 30 years. The GOP thinks we can drill our way out of the energy crunch, tax cut our way to prosperiety, be the police man of the world, continue unfair trade policies, continue to offshore jobs and turn our back on our long term future – our children's education, the environment and real solutions for the deficit.
This will be his last State of the Union Address! No more Obama after next January. No more destroying everything great about this country and no more causing major suffering for the American people esteem in the American way. He's been the greatest Presidential failure and disaster in American history. Seeya!
It will happen and next November, day after election, will be a new start and a new great day to celebrate America. Maybe we can create a holiday that celebrates Obama's removal from office.
Typically ignorant and fear-filled Repuke response.
Time to change your diapers, bub.
We survived 8 years of that AWOL punk bush, you will surivie 8 years of President Obama. If not, too bad.
Peter . . . you must be mentally challenged.
At least is sounds better than what the GOP has been sayin !!
Bob, Arciel, I'm going to be smiling in November. I will continue to build my business of 18 years, investing in other business, creating jobs, giving 10% of my income to charity, paying far more taxes in one year then you will pay in a lifetime, teach other people to not blame others and how to create what I have created in wealth so they can create jobs and give to charity. And, I will enjoy every second of privilege that I have earned with my own sweat. And, I will still be here for people like you that blame others and use them as an excuse for not working hard on your own future. I will still be here trying to get them out of the blame game, out of the “dependent on government” mode and help them become self-empowered. Enjoy your place in life because nobody, not even Bush created it. You did! Enjoy that envy! It’s like making your own poison! I’ll think of you on the day after election Day and have a smile from ear to ear!
Please Peter, enlighten us. Tell us how Mitt or Newt are going to make America much better?
That would be a long answer so, instead, I'll just say at least they haven't made it worse as all statistics and facts show that Obama has made it worse. He's simply lost, but that doesn't matter. All O has to do is be a good salesperson. But even that wont matter. He'll be gone next January and you, Bob and Arciel will all be celebrating!
"That would be a long answer so, instead, I'll just say at least they haven't made it worse..."
Translation: "Everything I'm saying is being spoken from my sphinctral region. Deep down I know that next January, and for the 4 years following, my sphinctral region will be babbling nonstop during Obama's second term."
Louie, I'm so impressed with that progressive statement. Educated, bright, medical definitions. wow. Just missing one thing. Common Sense...hehehe
Listening to Obama's speech was very moving, but you can't ignore the facts. Obama practically accomplished nothing in his first 2 years of office, with a democrat controlled congress, and now he;s trying to sell a plan hes been pushing for 4 years, that no one wants? For 2012 election, i woudn't vote for either Mitt Romney, or Obama, but Ron Paul. Look at how much support he recieves from overseas?
Accomplished nothing? You do realize the economy was in a free fall when he took office, do you?
Yeah, right wing nuts want to let you believe he did nothing or made it worse.
No, without his policy and without his stimulus, the economy would be much much worse!
You really do have to stop listening to the FOX NEWS propaganda and develop your own research skills. What planet have you been living on for the last 11 years?
Class warfare? The only class warfare is to fool the public that somehow our sourcing jobs and drive companies bankruptcy is good for the country.
No, it is only good for the fat cats and it is not good for the country. They can do that wherever they want. But, not in USA!
that's exactly what they like about the USA, that why they are patriots. They can do whatever they want and get the applause from the ignorant country listening good old boys.
Some of the comments here say Obama needs to unify the GOP and the Dems. But, the GOP hopefuls are already saying how they intend to reverse everything Obama has done. Why are they not required to “unify” the parties or at least required to attempt to do so or say they are going to do so? Why are they not sending the message that the Obama-bashers are saying Obama needs to send? Shouldn’t the GOP fans be looking for that from their potentials? I guess not. Honestly, I dislike both parties and think we need all independent politicians free of corporate / lobbyist affiliations. But the GOP are so hypocritical, it’s ridiculous. It was the same way with GWB – agree with him and your “unifying” the country, disagree and you’re a “traitor”. What a bunch of crap. I am disappointed with our government in general, particularly our dysfunctional Congress. They do not care about us – they only care about themselves and their financial backers who put them into office, that’s why this great country of ours is in shambles. It’s truly upsetting. Our founding fathers would be horrified to see what has become of their wonderful accomplishment. Obama is at least intelligent and articulate and attempts to make a difference; he provides some sanity to an extremely insane government.
I've never seen a President flat-out disrespected through rhetoric and bias by opposing politicians more than Barack Obama. Not even George W. Bush, who was the worst president ever, was treated as badly as the current President. The climate of US politics has definitely gone down the drain and it's time to clean up the House of Congress to make it more effective.
This is the U.S. . . .be proud.
He may be President but he's still a person. You reap what you sow and he has sowed disrespect. He earned it. Never earned money through a real job, but he certainly earned the disrespect. He actually has the choice to create respect in the future. Simply sow it! It’s lame for a President to always use the excuse that an opposing argument caused me to fail. It’s his job to bring the opposing argument closer in line with his by bringing people together. No excuses! There’s always a way. Instead, he alienates his opponents and that simply makes them detest him and dig in deeper in their trenches. I’m obviously a republican but if I thought he decided to sincerely bring us together rather than create conflict which energizes his base, than I would listen to him and respect him. He has to lead on this though. That’s what a “leader” does.
If the Rep take the White House next year, these messages will look the same. Only the names will change. Maybe you thought Bush had it better, you must not have been listening. What comes around goes around.
I believe in President Obama, I feel his anxiety and frustration in not being able to help our country move forward due to the lack of response and responsibility and lack of devotion from the Republicans. President obama did an excellent job in his State of the Union. I voted for him once and I will vote for him again. I stand beind him all the way till the mess left behind by the previous administration is cleaned up. For those that didn't listen to what he was saying, President Obama wants all Americans to have the opportunity to be responsible for our own financial independence. He is a compassionate person, wiling to help those that desperately need it. He doesn't want to give out handouts to everyone, he wants people to work for their own livelihood.
I happen to strongly support Obama. But even if you don't, is the best you guys can do Gingrich?! Letting him win the primary would be the greatest gift Obama has received since he took office. Shall I thank you all in advance for handing us back the presidency? Thank god you didn't elect Huntsman – he might have been a real challenge in capturing the center (which, remember, is how general elections are won).
There's a great video on Youtube that takes the state of the union speeches Obama made in 2010, 2011 and now 2012 and compares them... they are almost identical. He hasn't learned a thing from failure and he's still telling lies and following the same path to destruction
Great video? Don't you know that is a political ad video designed to fool you??
Have some intelligence!
I agree . . .he thinks the USA still is a great country. He has not learned anything, what a fool.
Right on John! He hasn't learned a thing because he doesn't actually know what to do. He's lost. He looks great, speaks a good story, but it's empty. It is a perfect example of a lack of substance. He should just be honest and say:”I don’t know what I’m doing”. The admission would be more helpful to Americans than the empty story.
NO ONE can fix the economy.
It's broken beyond repair.
If you think Romney or Gingrich (really?) can fix it, you're delusional.
i disagree..Joe. To me..nothing makes more sense than...BUY AMERICAN !!!!!! BUY AMERICAN !!!!! BUT AMERICAN !!!! BUY AMERICAN!!! Get the picture ?? !!
well wake up America, vote him out he can work at Mcdonalds
deport him imo
You are right. I don't think Mac's will give him a job.I use to think Bush was the worsr,I was very wrong.Smarten up people, get rid of Obama.
Did anyone else catch that name: Omekongo Dibinga. LMAO.
What short term memories Americans have? Hello!!! Bush created this debt, you who are complaining stood by for 8 years with your hands over your mouth and now you blame this on Obama!! You are really a sad bunch.
Hello Jim Colyer do you have vision? maybe you should run for President!! or shut up.
No, not lemming alert. What he said is 100% true. The issue isn't Obama and his politics. It's this bigoted America that I live in, where if it doesn't have a white face it's automatically rejected. I can tell this is what your comment was going towards, as if you had a legitimate concern with his politics or what the OP actually said you would have commented on that. The world isn't all white, get over it.
His speech was at an 8th grade level. It's so much easier to read from a teleprompter. The robotic democrat goons in the audience were a depressing spectacle as well. I fear for our country until this unqualified poser is fired from office. Really, he is not qualified to run a Taco Bell, much less the USA.
At least a teleprompter versus fumbling over his words and reading from printed notes, aka GWB.
so how is he for stonger immigration laws but yet he had a law suit against alabamas new immigration law. any one?
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