RECAP: Pres. Obama's final State of the Union

President Obama's Final State of the Union
President Obama's Final State of the Union

President Obama made his final State of the Union address of his presidency, beginning the speech with a quip and promise to keep the speech shorter than his prior addresses.


Republicans spent much of the week challenging him to lay out a specific plan with respect to how to deal with ISIS, and Americans agree according to polling.

Obama answered that call, focused heavily on ISIS in his speech, and calling on the Republican-controlled Congress to join the fight and formally authorize force.

"If this Congress is serious about winning this war, and wants to send a message to our troops and the world, you should finally authorize the use of military force against ISIL," the prepared remarks read.

HIGHLIGHTS (all times EST):

9:19 p.m. -- Obama kicked off the bulk of his speech by posing four questions to the nation:

  • First, how do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy?

  • Second, how do we make technology work for us, and not against us — especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change?

  • Third, how do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman?

  • And finally, how can we make our politics reflect what's best in us, and not what's worst?

9:23 p.m. -- The president praised Congress for coming together on a bipartisan level to reform No Child Left Behind, calling for further education action including "Pre-K for all, offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one," and increased recruitment and support for teachers.

9:27 p.m. -- Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Paul Ryan shared a knowing glance when the president joked "I'm guessing we won't agree on health care anytime soon."

9:35 p.m. -- In a bold declaration, the president said "America can cure cancer," and touted newly-increased resources for the National Institutes of Health thanks in part to Biden, who lost his son to brain cancer last year. "For the loved ones we've all lost, for the family we can still save, let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all."

See how Twitter reacted to the speech:

9:40 p.m. -- The president received a standing ovation from both Republicans, Democrats, and military leaders assembled as he declared, "Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that's the path to ruin."

9:48 p.m. -- Obama called on Congress to formally authorize the use of military force against ISIS. "Take a vote." He also reiterated American commitment to the war on terror. "If you doubt America's commitment — or mine — to see that justice is done, ask Osama bin Laden. Ask the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen, who was taken out last year, or the perpetrator of the Benghazi attacks, who sits in a prison cell. When you come after Americans, we go after you. It may take time, but we have long memories, and our reach has no limit."

Check out the photos of the speech:

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