Highlights of State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is offering to start holding monthly meetings with Democratic and Republican leaders from Congress in an effort to reverse Washington's biting partisanship. He said he won't "give up on changing the tone of our politics." In his State of the Union speech, Obama said the American people are frustrated with how their leaders behave. He told lawmakers they must get out of a perpetual campaign in which "if you lose, I win." To members of his own party, Obama said they hold majorities in the House and Senate and are expected to solve problems, not "run for the hills." To Republicans, who now have enough votes in the Senate to block his agenda, Obama said they now have a responsibility to govern and show leadership. ===================================================================== WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says he will veto bills that don't freeze non-national security spending. Obama on Wednesday told a joint session of Congress that he wants a three-year stop for additional spending. Obama says Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security would be exempt under the plan, which would begin next year. Obama says his administration already has found $20 billion in savings next year. Even so, Obama says it's not enough. He wants a commission to identify how to control skyrocketing spending. Obama says unless spending is controlled, financial markets and the nation's recovery will be threatened. The Senate recently blocked that proposal.


WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is hailing progress toward reducing nuclear weapons stockpiles. And he says that's giving the U.S. a stronger hand in dealing with nations like Iran and North Korea that defy international agreements in pursuit of those weapons. Obama pointed to negotiations between Washington and Moscow that are leading to the most sweeping arms control treaty in nearly two decades. And he looked ahead to an April summit of 44 nations aimed at securing nuclear materials all over the world. Obama says the international community is now more united against the spread of these weapons - bringing more isolation to North Korea and Iran. =================================================================== WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says his administration has seen political setbacks in its first year and that many of them were deserved. Obama on Wednesday said he is responsible for not explaining his proposed health care plan in a more clear way. He also says the lobbying and dealmaking involving the overhaul left most Americans wondering what the plans would include for them. Obama is telling Congress that his setbacks are nothing compared to the challenges facing Americans. But, he says, it's a new year and he is optimistic. Obama says, in his words, "We don't quit. I don't quit. Let's seize this moment." =================================================================== WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama concedes that the change he wanted everyone to believe in "has not come fast enough." In his State of the Union speech, Obama spoke to the frustration many Americans have about unemployment and petty politics in Washington. He said people deserve a government that matches their decency. Obama said people have so many reasons to be cynical and disappointed. Returning to his campaign promise of "change we can believe in," Obama said he knows many Americans aren't sure he can deliver. But he pledged not to quit. He said he will keep seeking his promised changes on important issues and will not play it safe. ==================================================================== WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says he understands why Americans are cynical and disappointed in the country's biggest institutions, including the government. Each time politicians tear each other down, Obama says, Americans lose faith in whether those politicians share their values. Obama said Wednesday night that no political party has a monopoly on the American values of hard work and generosity. In his first State of the Union address, Obama called on all politicians to show Americans that they share those values. =================================================================== WASHINGTON (AP) - For President Barack Obama, these are serious times. But humor helps. The president made sure to throw in a few laugh lines in his State of the Union address Wednesday. Referring to his struggles in getting a health care bill passed, Obama said dryly: "By now, it should be fairly obvious that I didn't take on health care because it was good politics." The lawmakers liked that one. When Obama introduced first lady Michelle Obama, she sat respectfully in the gallery while others applauded. The president poked a little fun, saying: "She gets embarrassed." And when Obama announced he wanted to hold monthly meetings that included Republican leaders, he looked at them and said: "I know you can't wait." ==================================================================== WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says it's not about "punishing banks" - it's about "protecting our economy." In his State of the Union address, Obama delivered a call for Congress to finish work on financial industry reform. He said financial institutions can only create jobs and raise family incomes if there are safeguards against what he calls "the same recklessness that nearly brought down our entire economy." He also said reforms must give consumers enough information to make financial decisions. Obama said that the House already has approved some of the changes and that lobbyists are trying to kill the measure. And he vowed to reject any bill that doesn't "meet the test of real reform."

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