The January 25, 2011 State of the Union Address by "Barack Obama
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The 2011 "State of the Union Address was a speech given by "President "Barack Obama at 9 p.m. "EST on January 25, 2011, in the chamber of the "United States House of Representatives. In this joint session Obama outlined his “vision for an America that’s more determined, more competitive, better positioned for the future—an America where we out-innovate, we out-educate, we out-build the rest of the world; where we take responsibility for our deficits; where we reform our government to meet the demands of a new age.”
As always, the presiding officers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, "Vice President "Joe Biden (as "Senate President) and "House Speaker "John Boehner sat behind the president. This is the first time a Republican has sat behind President Obama during a "joint session of Congress.
In light of the "2011 Tucson shooting of Representative "Gabrielle Giffords and others, the Washington "Third Way think tank sent a letter to Congressional leadership proposing members of Congress abandon a 96-year-long tradition of sitting with their party and instead sit together in a show of national unity. Senator "Mark Udall of Colorado picked up Third Way's proposal and sent a letter to Congressional members urging them to sit together regardless of party, breaking with tradition. Sixty members of the House and Senate signaled their support for the plan, and members of both houses sat with members of the opposite party. Groups included Arizona's House delegation of five Republicans and two Democrats (with an empty chair for Giffords), past presidential candidates "John Kerry and "John McCain, and campaign leaders "John Cornyn and "Patty Murray. Legislators wore black-and-white ribbons in honor of the victims of the shooting.
After visibly reacting to President Obama's criticism during the 2010 State of the Union of the "Citizens United decision, "Supreme Court Justices "Samuel Alito, "Antonin Scalia, and "Clarence Thomas did not attend the speech. "Secretary of the Interior "Ken Salazar served as the "designated survivor and did not attend the speech.
According to a White House fact sheet published by NMD Newswire US-President Obama underscored in his 2011 State of the Union Address "the need to maintain America’s leadership in a rapidly changing world so that our economy is competitive – growing and working for all Americans." In order to achieve this Obama outlined "a plan to help the United States win the future by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our global competition. At the same time, the President understands the need to reform the way our government does business and take responsibility for our deficit - by investing in what makes America stronger and cutting what doesn't."
Rep. "Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Chair of the "House Budget Committee, gave the "Republican response afterward. Rep. "Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Chair of the "House Foreign Affairs Committee, gave a Spanish version of the response.
Rep. "Michele Bachmann of Minnesota gave an address in response to Obama's speech on behalf of the "Tea Party Express. Some Republicans opposed Bachmann's decision, worrying she would draw attention away from Ryan. "Pajamas Media reported that Bachmann was refused access to the "Capitol Hill Club to make her speech, forcing her to give the speech from the "National Press Club.
Florida Republican Senator "Marco Rubio gave a mixed review of Obama's speech, saying, "While I was encouraged by the President's support for an earmark ban and will work with him towards that goal, his call for a mere budget freeze does not go far enough in tackling our record debt. At the very least, we should freeze non-defense and non-veterans discretionary spending to what it was before Washington began its unprecedented, record-setting spending binge two years ago. But most importantly, we need to finally begin fundamentally reforming the way our government spends the American people's money." Democratic Senator "Bill Nelson, also of Florida, praised Obama for "bringing us out of recession with jobs, helping small business, helping seniors with retirement security, getting government spending under control. Then he talked about civility. How do we treat each other? That’s going to matter a lot." Florida Governor "Rick Scott strongly criticized Obama's speech while New York Senators "Chuck Schumer and "Kirsten Gillibrand praised his economic agenda.
Leaders of several smaller political parties also gave prepared responses to the speech. The "Libertarian Party's response was delivered by Executive Director Wes Benedict. Billy Wharton, co-chair of the "Socialist Party USA, released a response through his party's website. "Sam Webb, chairman of the "Communist Party USA, released a response through the party's main website.
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