Video: Obama to Congress: Let's 'move forward' together

  1. Closed captioning of: Obama to Congress: Let's 'move forward' together

    >>> obama's state of the union address . he heads to wisconsin today bringing the message he laid out in the speech directly to voters. savannah guthrie has details. good morning.

    >> reporter: good morning to you, meredith. aids say they were trying to do something different with the state of the union . more broad themes. less of a laundry list of policy proposals. but with republicans and democrats sitting side by side , there was a different feel in the room.

    >> mr. speaker, the president of the united states ! [ cheers and applause ]

    >> reporter: the president entered into a new era in washington with a nod to the new republican speaker and a moment for the arizona congresswoman who couldn't be there.

    >> we are also mindful of the empty chair in this chamber and we pray for the health of our colleague and our friend gabby giffords . [ applause ]

    >> reporter: giffords' husband watched the speech from her hospital room holding her hand while the parents of 9-year-old victim christina taylor green watched from the guest box. members wore black and white ribbons in giffords' honor.

    >> there is a reason the tragedy gave us pause. we are still bound together as one people. we share common hopes and a common creed that the dreams of a little girl in tucson are not so different than those of our own children and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.

    >> reporter: amidst calls for more civility there was a different tone in the room. gone were the partisan cheers of the past several years. dozens of republicans and democrats chose to sit together. senators mccain and kerry, thune and gillibrand.

    >> what comes of this moment is not whether we can sit together tonight but whether we can work together tomorrow.

    >> reporter: the pitch, increased spending in energy, infrastructure and innovation to create jobs and keep america competitive with countries like china and india.

    >> we need to outinnovate, outeducate and outbuild the rest of the world .

    >> reporter: in a room full of republicans brought into power on a no spending platform, the president called for a five-year freeze in the domestic nonsecurity budget.

    >> every day families sacrifice to live within their means. they deserve a government that does the same. i recognize that some in this chamber have already proposed deeper cuts, and i'm willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without, but let's make sure we're not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens.

    >> reporter: the president also called for reforming the corporate tax code and just days after house republicans voted to repeal the president's health care law , mr. obama defended it.

    >> if you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, i am eager to work with you. instead of refighting the battles of the last two years let's fix what needs fixing and move forward.

    >> reporter: republicans had what amounted to duelling responses. paul ryan offered the official gop response.

    >> the debt will soon eclipse our economy and grow to catastrophic levels in the years ahead.

    >> reporter: while michelle bachmann took to the internet. she later told brian williams she was not trying to divide the party.

    >> this wasn't competition with what the gop official response was.

    >> reporter: closing his speech, the president saved the traditional line for the end.

    >> it's because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.

    >> reporter: the president plans to sell his message about winning the future in the coming weeks. it starts in wisconsin today. matt, watch this space, literally. we may get a personnel announcement about a new press secretary briefing from this room as early as tomorrow.

    >> savannah guthrie in washington, thank

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 1/26/2011 8:35:24 AM ET 2011-01-26T13:35:24

Barack Obama was blamed for plunging the country into deeper debt in the GOP response to his State of the Union address, but a separate Tea Party message given by Michele Bachmann hinted at the party's divisions.

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While Bachmann's comments were similar to those made by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., some Republican officials privately expressed anger at the unusual move.

Bachmann said her address wasn't intended to compete with Ryan's.

Ryan urged Obama to give up on new spending programs and "endless borrowing" by joining the GOP in a drive to wrestle the federal budget deficit under control.

"There is no doubt the president came into office facing a severe fiscal and economic situation," he said. "Unfortunately, instead of restoring the fundamentals of economic growth, he engaged in a stimulus spending spree that not only failed to deliver on its promise to create jobs, but also plunged us even deeper into debt."

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Obama's call for a freeze on the annual operating budgets of most domestic agencies doesn't go far enough for Republicans. And the GOP remained deeply skeptical of Obama's plan for investments in education, infrastructure, and research and development.

"Our nation is approaching a tipping point. We are at a moment, where if government's growth is left unchecked and unchallenged, America's best century will be considered our past century," Ryan said.

Video: Ryan stresses government accountability (on this page)

"This is a future in which we will transform our social safety net into a hammock, which lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency. Depending on bureaucracy to foster innovation, competitiveness, and wise consumer choices has never worked — and it won't work now. We need to chart a new course," he added.

No prior approval
The New York Times reported that Ryan's speech was made with the blessing of the GOP's leadership, but that aides said Bachmann had not shown a copy of her statement to them in advance.

However, her speech echoed many of Ryan's speaking points in an address that was designed to be broadcast on the Tea Party Express's website. That changed when CNN decided to carry them live.

She said that deficits "exploded under President Obama's direction" and urged tax cuts as well as a repeal of the health care law, which she derisively called "ObamaCare."

"America will have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Look no further to see why jobs are moving overseas," Bachmann said.

Video: Bachmann: Obama put U.S. deeper in debt (on this page)

"But, thanks to you (Tea Party supporters), there's reason to hope that real spending cuts are coming. Last November you went to the polls and voted out big-spending politicians and you put in their place men and women with a commitment to follow the Constitution and cut the size of government," she added.

"Last November you went to the polls and voted out big-spending politicians and you put in their place men and women with a commitment to follow the Constitution and cut the size of government," she said. "I believe that we are in the early days of a history-making turn."

Bachmann narrowly avoided a major gaffe in her speech.

Excerpts released in advance called on Obama to "commit himself to signing" a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget.

The Constitution gives the president no role in amendments, which go directly to the states for ratification after Congress approves them.

Her full remarks, released a few hours after the excerpts, dropped the reference to a signing and merely urged Obama to support the amendment.

After her speech, Bachmann told NBC News' Brian Williams that her speech was "nothing to do with competition" with Ryan's speech and said the media had created the idea that there was.

Video: Bachmann: 'The media made this a competition' (on this page)

"Actually I thought Paul Ryan did a wonderful job," she told Williams when asked what was it about Ryan's speech that was "less than satisfying" and meant she had to give a Tea Party version.

She said that "we all go to the microphones" to speak to people across the country about the State of the Union address.

In other remarks, Ryan said Obama's stimulus — even if "repackaged" as "investment" — showed the Democrats wanted a federal government "that controls too much; taxes too much; and spends too much in order to do too much."

"And during the last two years, that is exactly what we have gotten — along with record deficits and debt ... Endless borrowing is not a strategy; spending cuts have to come first," Ryan said.

Slideshow: The State of the Union (on this page)

He will be the point man in the new House GOP majority's drive to rein in spending and bring the budget closer to balance.

Tuesday's speech was the highest profile assignment yet for a wonky former congressional staff aide who has evolved into one of his party's brightest stars.

Ryan is best known for a controversial budget plan brimming with politically unpopular ideas like gradually turning Medicare into a voucher program, curbing Social Security benefits and allowing younger workers to divert Social Security taxes into private accounts.

He says such tough steps are needed, given intractable budget deficits that threaten America's prosperity.

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'Skeptical of both parties'
"Americans are skeptical of both political parties, and that skepticism is justified — especially when it comes to spending," Ryan said.

"So hold all of us accountable. In this very room, the House will produce, debate, and advance a budget. ... We owe you a better choice and a different vision ... to show you how we intend to do things differently, how we will cut spending to get the debt down, help create jobs and prosperity, and reform government programs," he said.

Ryan's plan, the "Roadmap for America," is so politically toxic that GOP campaign operatives urged candidates to shy away from it.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said earlier Tuesday that Ryan "owes it to the national audience tonight to explain why he wants to privatize Social Security and Medicare."

"Tonight's speech should have been called a State of the Stimulus, and the President should have admitted that it failed," said Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of S.C. in a written statement.

"Two years after the president's nearly trillion-dollar government stimulus, unemployment has increased and remains high, families and businesses are still struggling, and our national debt continues to skyrocket."

Obama made his speech before a House chamber packed with tea party-backed GOP freshmen elected with a determination to slash spending and thwart the president's agenda.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explainer: State of the union: by the numbers

  • After President Barack Obama's delivery of the annual State of the Union address to Congress, here is a look at some of the facts and figures that shape American life and how they have changed in the past decade (based on the latest available data, compiled from multiple sources).

  • Economy and Business

    Unemployed workers, January 2000: 4.0%
    Unemployed workers, January 2011: 9.4%

    Dow Industrial Average, Jan. 25, 2000:11,029
    Dow Industrial Average, Jan. 20, 2011:11,822

    U.S. federal debt, September 2000:$5,674,178,209,886
    U.S. federal debt, September 2010:$13,561,623,030,891

    Median new home price, January 2000: $163,500
    Median new home price, November 2010: $213,000

    Household income (top 5%), 2000:$252,400
    Household income (top 5%), 2009:$295,388

    Household income (bottom 5%), 2000:$10,157
    Household income (bottom 5%), 2009:$11,552

    Total U.S. population, 2000: 281,421,906
    Total U.S. population, 2010:308,745,538

    Number of U.S. millionaires, 2000:6.3 million
    Number of U.S. millionaires, 2010:7.8 million

    Price of admission to Forbes 400 list, 2000:$725 million
    Price of admission to Forbes 400 list, 2010:$1 billion

  • Politics

    Congressional approval, December 2000:55% approve; 30% disapprove     
    Congressional approval, September 2010:
    20% approve, 73% disapprove

    Confidence in national news media, December 2000:40% have little or no confidence
    Confidence in national news media, January 2011:42% have little or no confidence

    Confidence in the federal government, December 2000:19% have little or no confidence
    Confidence in the federal government, January 2010:
    35% have little or no confidence

    Hispanic/Latino electorate in 2000 election:7%
    Hispanic/Latino electorate in 2008 election:9%

    Women serving in Congress, 2000: 67
    Women serving in Congress, 2011: 93

    African-American members in U.S. Senate, 2000:0
    African-American members in U.S. Senate, 2011:0

  • Health

    Life expectancy at birth, 2000:76.8 years
    Life expectancy at birth, 2010:78.3 years, projected

    Number of uninsured Americans, 2000: 38.4 million
    Number of uninsured Americans, 2010:
    50.7 million

    Cancer deaths, all causes, 2000:553,091
    Cancer deaths, all causes, 2010:
    569,490

  • Travel

    Average price of a gallon of gas, 2000:$1.51/gallon
    Average price of a gallon of gas, 2011:
    $3.08/gallon

    Average airfare, 2000:$339
    Average airfare, 2011: $335 (through second quarter of 2010)

    First-bag fee, 2000: None
    First-bag fee, 2010:$20-25 (on most major U.S. carriers)

    Average hotel, 2000:$85.89/night
    Average hotel, 2011:$97.89/night (through September 2010)

    One-day ticket to Walt Disney World, 2000:$46
    One-day ticket to Walt Disney World, 2011:$82

  • Tech and Science

    Google searches per day, 2000: 30 million
    Google searches per day, 2011:
    Over 1 billion

    Wireless phone subscribers in U.S., 2000:97 million (34% of population)
    Wireless phone subscribers in U.S., 2011:293 million (93% of population)

    Facebook users, worldwide, 2000: 0
    Facebook users, worldwide, 2011:600 million

    Federal spending on research and development, 2000:$99 billion (actual spending)
    Federal spending on research and development, 2011:$148 billion (proposed)

    NASA science missions in operation, 2000: 38
    NASA science missions in operation, 2011:67

  • Education

    Public schools that require student uniforms, 1999-2000:12%
    Public schools that require student uniforms, 2007-2008:18%

    Public schools reporting the use of one or more security cameras, 1999-2000:19%
    Public schools reporting the use of one or more security cameras, 2007-2008:55%

    Nationwide graduation rates at public high schools, 2000-2001:71.7%
    Nationwide graduation rates at public high schools, 2007-2008:74.9%

    Average salary for public high school teachers, 1999-2000:$42,546
    Average salary for public high school teachers, 2008-2009:$53,724

    Minorities enrolled in 4-year institutions, 2000:1.5 million
    Minorities enrolled in 4-year institutions, 2007:1.8 million

    Average college tuition for 4-year private institutions, 1999-2000:$20,706
    Average college tuition for 4-year private institutions, 2009-2010:$26,273

    Science and math literacy (U.S. ranking on OECD PISA test given to 15-year-olds), 2000:14th in science, 19th in math
    Science and math literacy (U.S. ranking on OECD PISA test given to 15-year-olds), 2009:23rd in science, 31st in math

  • Sports

    Highest paid athletes (includes salaries, bonuses, prize money, endorsements and appearance fees), 2000:Michael Schumacher, $59 million
    Highest paid athletes (includes salaries, bonuses, prize money, endorsements and appearance fees), 2010:Tiger Woods, $105 million

    Cost of a Super Bowl ad, 2000:$2.1 million
    Cost of a Super Bowl ad, 2011:$3 million

    Rose Bowl payout (amount paid to each participating team), 2000:$12 million
    Rose Bowl payout (amount paid to each participating team), 2011:$21.2 million

    Average cost of an NFL ticket, 2000:$45.63
    Average cost of an NFL ticket, 2011:$76.47

  • Entertainment and Lifestyle

    Average movie ticket price, 2001: $5.66
    Average movie ticket price, 2011: $7.95

    Golden Globe winner for best picture, 2001:"A Beautiful Mind"
    Golden Globe winner for best picture, 2011:"The Social Network"

    Number of wide-release 3-D movies, 2001: 1
    Number of wide-released 3-D movies, 2011:30+

    Oprah Winfrey net worth, 2001:$800 million
    Oprah Winfrey net worth, 2011:$2.7 billion

    Number of children in the Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar family, 2001: 13
    Number of children in the Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar family, 2011: 19

    Most-watched TV show, 2001-2002:"Friends," 24.46 million average
    Most-watched TV show, 2010:"American Idol," 29.8 million average

    Highest-paid TV actor, 2001:Kelsey Grammer, $1.6 million per episode
    Highest-paid TV actor, 2011:Charlie Sheen, $1.25 million per episode

    Number of reality shows in Nielsen top 10, 2001: 2
    Number of reality shows in Nielsen top 10, 2010: 5

    Top-earning concert act, 2001:U2, estimated ticket sales $109.7 million
    Top-earning concert act, 2010:Bon Jovi, estimated ticket sales $201.1 million

    Average concert ticket price, 2001:$43.86
    Average concert ticket price, 2010:$55

    Popularity rank of the names "Malia" and "Sasha," 2000:498, 476
    Popularity rank of the names "Malia" and "Sasha," 2009:192, 261

Photos: State of the Union

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  1. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington. Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio applaud at rear. (Pablo Martinez Monsivias / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. This photo from the office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shows her husband, Mark Kelly, watching the State of the Union address with Giffords in her hospital room in Houston on Tuesday, Jan. 25. Giffords was critically wounded in a shooting in Tucson that left six people dead, and she has been moved to Houston for rehabilitation. (Office Of U.s. Rep. Gabrielle Gi / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. First lady Michelle Obama waves as, from left to right, John, Dallas and Roxanna Green, family of the late Christina Taylor Green of Tucson, take their seats before the address. Christina, 9, was killed in the attack that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords critically injured. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Ramon Diaz Castellon sits in the back of the pickup he is living in as he watches the speech in Miami. Castellon said he is unemployed after losing his job working at a restaurant that went out of business. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi takes her seat next to Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, left. They agreed to sit next to each other in a spirit of bipartisanship on the floor of the House for the president's speech. (Jim Young / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. President Barack Obama is greeted on Capitol Hill in Washington before his speech. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Vice President Joe Biden, left and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio wear black and white ribbons in honor of those killed and wounded in the Tucson attack. The white band represents hope for a peaceful, nonviolent society. The black is in remembrance those who have died or been injured as a result of violence. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. The president's motorcade drives toward Capitol Hill for his State of Union speech on Tuesday. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Barack Obama, John Boehner, Joe Biden
    Pablo Martinez Monsivias / AP
    Above: Slideshow (8) The State of the Union
  2. Image: President Obama Hold Town Hall Meeting In Ohio
    J.D. Pooley / Getty Images
    Slideshow (65) Obama's first years in office - Second year
  3. USA presidential inauguration
    Chuck Kennedy / Pool via EPA
    Slideshow (68) Obama's first years in office - First year

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