President Barack Obama outlined his administration's achievements and his vision for the future in his seventh - and last - State of the Union Address. His parting words to the country called for unity saying he was, "optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word".
Throughout his speech, President Obama spoke of what still needed to be done: "fixing a broken immigration system. Protecting our kids from gun violence. Equal pay for equal work, paid leave, raising the minimum wage. All these things still matter to hardworking families; they are still the right thing to do; and I will not let up until they get done." Mr. Obama mentioned immigration or immigrants five times in his final State of the Union.
He also used the opportunity to remind the country of his administration's achievements; from insuring 18 million people through the Affordable Care Act to adding 14 million new jobs. "We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history," said Obama.
The parties still have their differences in foreign policy regarding Cuba, and Mr. Obama argued that after "fifty years of isolating Cuba" and following a policy that has failed to promote democracy there it was time to recognize that the Cold War is over and to "lift the embargo."
The President outlined 4 big questions he said the country has to answer: how to give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in the new economy, how to make technology "work for us, and not against us," especially on climate change, how to keep America safe and leading the world without "becoming its policeman" and finally, how to make "our politics reflect what’s best in us, and not what’s worst."
But Obama also used his last State of the Union address to throw a jab at the rhetoric surrounding the current political campaign, especially Donald Trump. Without saying Trump's name, the President said:"When politicians insult Muslims - that doesn't make us safer. That's not telling it like it is. It's just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world - it betrays who we are as a country."
Obama said one of the few regrets of this presidency is that the level of rancor has increased while he has been in office. "There’s no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide, and I guarantee I’ll keep trying to be better so long as I hold this office," said Obama.
Obama then pivoted to exhorting Americans to vote and participate, and urged a change in the system of redistricting so that it's not politicians who are picking their voters, and urged working to lessen the influence of money in politics, "so that a handful of families and hidden interests can’t bankroll our elections."
The President ended his last State of the Union with a hopeful note, saying the America he knows is "clear-eyed," "big-hearted" and "optimistic."