State of the Union 2013: Enhanced Video, Written Transcript

US News • Views: 15,599

Partial written transcript of President Obama’s state of the union address last night & full enhanced version:

Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in 20. Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before.

So, together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the State of our Union is stronger.

But we gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs — but too many people still can’t find full-time employment. Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs — but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.

It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth — a rising, thriving middle class.

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, no matter what you look like, or who you love.

It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.

The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem. They don’t expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party. They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can. For they know that America moves forward only when we do so together, and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all.

Our work must begin by making some basic decisions about our budget — decisions that will have a huge impact on the strength of our recovery.

Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion — mostly through spending cuts, but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.

Now we need to finish the job. And the question is, how?

In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars’ worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year. These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness. They’d devastate priorities like education, and energy, and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery, and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. That’s why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as the sequester, are a really bad idea.

Now, some in Congress have proposed preventing only the defense cuts by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training, Medicare and Social Security benefits. That idea is even worse.

Yes, the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population. And those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms — otherwise, our retirement programs will crowd out the investments we need for our children, and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations.

But we can’t ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and the most powerful. We won’t grow the middle class simply by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling, or by forcing communities to lay off more teachers and more cops and more firefighters. Most Americans — Democrats, Republicans, and independents — understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, and with everybody doing their fair share. And that’s the approach I offer tonight.

On Medicare, I’m prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.

Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs. And the reforms I’m proposing go even further. We’ll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors. We’ll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn’t be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital; they should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive. And I am open to additional reforms from both parties, so long as they don’t violate the guarantee of a secure retirement. Our government shouldn’t make promises we cannot keep — but we must keep the promises we’ve already made.

Full Transcript As Delivered

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16 comments

1 Bulworth  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 10:31:57am
It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.

See there, PBO hates free enterprise and individual initiative. What more do you people need to hear to know the man is a stark raving mad secular marxist humanist socialist?

///

2 Dr Lizardo  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 10:40:41am

re: #1 Bulworth

See there, PBO hates free enterprise and individual initiative. What more do you people need to hear to know the man is a stark raving mad secular marxist humanist socialist?

///

ZOMG!1! ITS STRAIT OUT OF TEH COMMUNIST MANIFESTO AND TEH KORAN!!11ty

3 Gus  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 10:42:24am

Let’s combat climate change by drilling for more oil and gas. Which by default includes fracking. Makes sense. [Golf clap.]

4 lawhawk  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 10:46:56am

re: #3 Gus

Let’s combat climate change by drilling for more oil and gas. Which by default includes fracking. Makes sense. [Golf clap.]

War on Coal!

5 Sol Berdinowitz  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 10:48:00am

The modern conservative definition of “individual initiative” means the right to work multiple minimum-wage jobs to make ends meet, it means the right to take on an unpayable debt if you want to go to college and the right treat yourself will over-the-counter meds because you canot afford a doctor.

6 Kragar (Antichrist )  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 10:51:16am

Beck: Christopher Dorner Rampage Is Proof the Left Promotes Violence

Glenn Beck is absolutely positive that progressives in America are trying to foment violence in order to justify a government crackdown and ultimately provoke a civil war, which is why, as he explained on his television program last night, the Left has supposedly rallied around Christopher Dorner.

Citing nothing but a couple of Facebook pages, Beck saw in the Dorner rampage evidence of his theory that “radical progressives look for the disenfranchised and they stir them up to violence and you can expect more … Targeting police and government buildings, setting off bombs and causing destruction; this is the pattern throughout American history. Whenever the radical left feels like they are very close to getting the oppressive government that they want, they try to shove the American people over the edge”:

7 Lidane  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 10:51:43am
8 simoom  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 10:51:56am

Graham during his press conference minutes ago, ranting at Obama on Benghazi & Hagel:


9 Gus  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 10:52:28am

re: #4 lawhawk

War on Coal!

Noun, verb, wingnut.

10 erik_t  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 10:52:30am

re: #6 Kragar (Antichrist )

Beck: Christopher Dorner Rampage Is Proof the Left Promotes Violence

The moon man rant made more sense.

Step up yo’ game, Glenn.

11 Bulworth  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 10:54:44am

I took a look at the speech (didn’t watch last night) and it strikes me just how much stuff is in it. Policy stuff. Obviously Congress has committees and there are separate government agencies that can address these things at the same time. But for much of the public something like this undoubtedly starts to fly over their head at some point. And even for those of us who pay attention to many of these issues, all the information is a little overwhelming. On some things I’d like more details.

I think I would much prefer to get away from these SOTU speeches where all this information is churned out in data dump fashion. Maybe a press conference every quarter could take on some of the main policy problems and initiatives in a more digestable form for the public. Don’t shoot me, I’m just thinking off the top of my head here. What do others think?

12 erik_t  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 10:55:06am

re: #9 Gus

Noun, verb, wingnut.

Someday a libertarian-persuasion wingnut will declare a War on War, and my life will be complete.

13 Ghost of Tom Joad  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 10:56:29am

re: #6 Kragar (Antichrist )

Beck: Christopher Dorner Rampage Is Proof the Left Promotes Violence

Pretty much DARVO right there. Fomenting violence and revolution has been the M.O. of him and others of his ilk for years now.

14 Ghost of Tom Joad  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 11:00:07am

re: #11 Bulworth

Eh, it’s one of those over-hyped rituals that I never really cared about. It’s a stump speech, only difference being Congress et al. has to show up and pretend to sort of give a shit.

15 geoffm33  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 11:01:25am

Yay Drudge Headline: STATE OF THE UNION: 11,629 MORE GO ON FOOD STAMPS EACH DAY… (points to this CNS article: [Link: cnsnews.com…]

Couple of debunking articles here and here.

And for comparison, under GWB (granted it was an 8 year span) food stamp recipients rose 14.7 million. Or an average of 16,095 per day. So…yeah.

16 lumberjack  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 1:18:47pm

re: #15 geoffm33


Um, 14.7 mil divided by 2920 days (8years) is 5034 per day

I do this stuff in my head btw.


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The computer can't tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact mathematical design, but what's missing is the eyebrows.