Video: ‘Hopeful’ Obama speaks on jobs, voter anger

  1. Closed captioning of: ‘Hopeful’ Obama speaks on jobs, voter anger

    >> republican jeb bush . but let's begin at the white house with nbc's chuck todd , our chief white house correspondent. chuck, good morning to you.

    >> reporter: well, good morning, matt. look, it was a very animated president obama last night who delivered his first state of the union that was as much about trying to shore up his own political standing with the american public as it was about laying out his agenda for the coming year.

    >> the worst of the storm has passed.

    >> reporter: the president took pains to talk about hope at a time when so many americans seemed to have so little.

    >> i have never been more hopeful about america's future than i am tonight. despite our hardships, our union is strong.

    >> reporter: his speech, as much about the tenor of the debate in washington as the policy.

    >> as i'm comfortable and contentious as the debates may become, it's time to get serious about fixing the premtz that are hampering our growth.

    >> reporter: the president made it crystal clear , he knows what the top issue is for americans .

    >> jobs must be our number one focus in 2010 , and that's why i'm calling for a new jobs bill tonight.

    >> reporter: but there were plenty of other priorities -- financial regulatory reform , energy, climate change , education, trade, deficit reduction, even gays in the military , and of course, health care .

    >> and by now, it should be fairly obvious that i didn't take on health care because it was good politics. i take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the american people .

    >> reporter: the president reiterated his hope that health care reform would pass soon.

    >> don't walk away from reform, not now, not when we are so close.

    >> reporter: without mentioning it by name, the president responded to last week's republican upset in massachusetts and voter anger at washington .

    >> i'm not naive. i never thought that the mere fact of my election would usher in peace and harmony and some postpartum san era, but what frustrates the american people is a washington where every day is election day.

    >> reporter: the president did his best to offer republicans something to stand up and cheer about, talking about all the tax cuts he implemented.

    >> we cut tax.

    >> reporter: that didn't do it.

    >> i thought i'd get some applause on that one.

    >> reporter: but he challenged republicans with ideas he thought could win them over.

    >> a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country, opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. we will strengthen our trade relations in asia and with key partners like south korea and panama and colombia.

    >> reporter: that line got republicans standing up while democrats stayed seated. and while mr. obama criticized the supreme court 's decision allowing corporations to spend more money on politics, it apparently did not sit well with justice samuel alito , who cameras caught silently voicing apparent disagreement with the president, but mr. obama kept coming back to this one theme.

    >> right now, i know there are many americans who aren't sure they still believe we can change or that i can deliver it.

    >> reporter: and ending up how he started.

    >> we don't quit. i don't quit. let's seize this moment to start anew , to carry the dream forward and to strengthen our union once more.

    >> reporter: like most presidents after a state of the union , the president is getting out of washington . he and vice president biden are going to go to tampa, florida, today to announce an $8 billion program from the federal government to jump-start the building of light rail around the country. this traveling outside of washington is something you should expect to see a lot of from the president in the coming months, meredith.

    >> chuck todd , thank you. joe
updated 1/27/2010 7:37:26 PM ET 2010-01-28T00:37:26

The White House released these excerpts from President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech in advance of delivery:

We face big and difficult challenges. And what the American people hope — what they deserve — is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences; to overcome the numbing weight of our politics. For while the people who sent us here have different backgrounds and different stories and different beliefs, the anxieties they face are the same. The aspirations they hold are shared. A job that pays the bill. A chance to get ahead. Most of all, the ability to give their children a better life.

You know what else they share? They share a stubborn resilience in the face of adversity. After one of the most difficult years in our history, they remain busy building cars and teaching kids; starting businesses and going back to school. They are coaching little league and helping their neighbors. As one woman wrote to me, "We are strained but hopeful, struggling but encouraged."

It is because of this spirit - this great decency and great strength - that I have never been more hopeful about America's future than I am tonight. Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We don't allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it's time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength. And tonight, I'd like to talk about how together, we can deliver on that promise.


By the time I'm finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance. Millions will lose it this year. Our deficit will grow. Premiums will go up. Co-pays will go up. Patients will be denied the care they need. Small business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether. I will not walk away from these Americans. And neither should the people in this chamber.

Rather than fight the same tired battles that have dominated Washington for decades, it's time for something new. Let's try common sense. Let's invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt. Let's meet our responsibility to the people who sent us here.

To do that, we have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now. We face a deficit of trust - deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.

That's what I came to Washington to do. That's why - for the first time in history - my Administration posts our White House visitors online. And that's why we've excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.

But we cannot stop there. It's time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my Administration or Congress. And it's time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office. Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign companies - to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that's why I'm urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.

I'm also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform. You have trimmed some of this spending and embraced some meaningful change. But restoring the public trust demands more. For example, some members of Congress post some earmark requests online. Tonight, I'm calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single website before there's a vote so that the American people can see how their money is being spent.

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