President Obama sang "Amazing Grace" after delivering a rousing eulogy for the Reverend Clementa Pinckney.
"The idea that Obama would play out his Presidency, after the political defeat of the midterm elections, as a professorial lame duck turns out to be without basis,” David Remnick writes.
在奧巴馬發表國情咨文的數小時之前，共和黨人就對此次演講進行了駁斥。眾議院議長約翰·A·博納(John A. Boehner)分發了一份引述新聞評論員觀點的文件，這些評論員質疑奧巴馬的誠意，稱白宮在過去三周分發的提案不切實際。文件提到了Fox新聞頻道(Fox News)的評論，稱奧巴馬的計劃是「實現自由派夢想的時光機」。
In State of the Union Speech, a Focus on the Middle Class
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS January 21, 2015
WASHINGTON — President Obama claimed credit on Tuesday for an improving economy and defiantly told his Republican adversaries in Congress to “turn the page” by supporting an expensive domestic agenda aimed at improving the fortunes of the middle class.
Released from the political constraints of a sagging economy, overseas wars and elections, Mr. Obama declared in his sixth State of the Union address that “the shadow of crisis has passed,” and vowed to use his final two years in office fighting for programs that have taken a back seat. He called on Congress to make community college free for most students, enhance tax credits for education and child care and impose new taxes and fees on high-income earners and large financial institutions.
“We have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth,” Mr. Obama said in an address seen by an estimated 30 million people. “Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?”
The president used the prime-time speech to call on Congress to pass new legislation authorizing the fight against the Islamic State. The president said approval of a resolution granting him that power — something he has argued he does not need to carry out the five-month-old campaign — would send an important signal. “Tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission,'’ Mr. Obama said.
“This effort will take time,” he said of the five-month battle to defeat the Islamic State, the Sunni militant group that is also known as ISIS or ISIL. “It will require focus. But we will succeed.”
He also urged lawmakers to lift the trade embargo on Cuba as he moves to normalize relations with the Communist island nation.
When he entered the chamber, a smiling Mr. Obama shook hands with members of Congress as he worked his way past six members of the Supreme Court and most of his cabinet. He received several standing ovations in the first few minutes, with members of both parties leaping to their feet as he saluted the “courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 generation who has served to keep us safe.”
Yet he was facing a skeptical Congress hours after vowing to veto Republican legislation that would restrict abortion and speed the approval of natural gas pipelines, the latest in a series of veto threats that reflect his eagerness to confront conservative ideology despite his party’s major losses in the congressional elections in the fall. He promised on Tuesday night that any attempt to roll back the health care law, stand in the way of Wall Street regulations or delay his executive actions on immigration would meet with the same fate.
The president sought to cement an economic legacy that seemed improbable early in his first term, when the country was nearly in economic collapse. The speech seemed designed in part to live beyond his presidency by helping to starkly define the differences between Democrats and Republicans ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
“The verdict is clear,” Mr. Obama said. “Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don’t get in the way.”
Mr. Obama did highlight some potential areas of collaboration with Republicans. He called on Congress to approve a business tax overhaul, the granting of authority to strike trade deals, and a major initiative to repair crumbling roads and bridges and to modernize the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
But the president vowed to push forward with policies that have generated Republican opposition. He called for aggressive action on combating climate change and said he would not back down on changes to the nation’s immigration system. He repeated his support for new regulations on Internet providers and for overriding state laws that limit competition for high-speed service.
Republicans dismissed the speech hours before it was delivered. House Speaker John A. Boehner circulated a document citing news commentators who questioned Mr. Obama’s sincerity and called his proposals, which the White House has circulated for the last three weeks, as fantasy. The document quoted Fox News calling Mr. Obama’s plans a “time machine for liberal dreams.”
In excerpts from the official Republican response, Senator Joni Ernst, the freshman Republican from Iowa, said that “Americans have been hurting, but when we demanded solutions, too often Washington responded with the same stale mind-set that led to failed policies like Obamacare.”
Aides to Mr. Obama said that although there might be some areas of collaboration, the address was intended as a blueprint that Republicans accepted or rejected.
“He’s not going to trim his sails because some people, before he’s given the speech, said they don’t like his ideas,” a senior aide told reporters hours before the president stood in front of the joint session of Congress.
Mr. Obama’s plans — which would offer free community college for millions of students, paid leave for workers and more generous government assistance for education, child care and retirement savings for the middle class — are to be financed in large part by $320 billion in tax increases over the next decade on higher income earners as well as a fee on large financial institutions.
The tax plan would raise the top capital gains tax rate to 28 percent, from 23.8 percent. It would also remove what amounts to a tax break for wealthy people who can afford to hold onto their investments until death. The proposal would repeal a provision that now allows individuals to pass on such assets without taxes ever being assessed on the capital gains that accrued during their lifetimes. Mr. Obama would also limit tax benefits for retirement savings for the wealthiest taxpayers, capping tax-preferred individual retirement accounts at about $3.4 million.
Mr. Obama also said he wanted to assess a new fee on the largest financial institutions — those with assets of $50 billion or more — based on the amount of risk they take on.
Those proposals would pay for the community college initiative, which would cost $60 billion over a decade, as well as an array of new tax credits intended for the middle class. They include a new $500 credit for families with two working spouses; a subsidy of up to $2,500 annually to pay for college; and the tripling, to up to $3,000, of an existing tax break to pay for child care.
“It’s time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or as a women’s issue,” Mr. Obama said, “and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.”
Some of the tax incentives Mr. Obama proposed have found support among Republicans, but most of them have angrily dismissed the plan since the White House previewed it over the weekend, calling it a nonstarter that would reignite a bitter class-based battle without doing anything to fuel economic growth.
Mr. Obama waved aside those concerns and said enacting his proposals would represent bold action to improve the lives of all Americans by making sure that everyone has a chance to t receive the skills and opportunities that lead to economic success.
“That’s what middle-class economics is, the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules,” Mr. Obama said.
The president argued for his recent decision to begin the process of normalizing relations with Cuba and to loosen trade and commercial restrictions with the island nation. Mr. Obama said the approach of walling off the United States from Cuba had been ineffective, and it was time to try a new strategy.
He argued for smarter breed of American leadership based on embracing diplomacy and military force.
“We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy, when we leverage our power with coalition building, when we don’t let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents,” Mr. Obama said.
As part of that approach, the president argued that the United States had an opportunity to strike a deal with Iran to prevent its development of a nuclear weapon, and made clear that he opposes legislation — backed by some Democrats and Republicans — to impose new sanctions before those talks have played out.
And in the wake of several high-profile cyberattacks, including a hack of Sony Pictures that his administration blamed on North Korea, Mr. Obama called for legislation to bolster protections against such computer-enabled assaults.
“No foreign nation, no hacker should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids,” the president said. “If we don’t act, we’ll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable. If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe.”
The president's ad-libbed line was partisan comedic timing at its best
Towards the end of the speech, the president delivered the line, "I have no more campaigns to run", eliciting at first silence in the chamber, before a smattering of sarcastic applause and jeering forced Obama to smirk slightly at the Republicans in the room.
With a straight face he ad-libbed, "I know because I won both of them", turning his head to the other side quickly, the ultimate put down executed to full effect.
The room erupted with cheers and laughs from the president's supporters, which lated for several minutes, with Obama winking back at the Republicans who had jeered him, evidently proud of his spontaneous "burn". Joe Biden, who didn't initially react to Obama's quip, soon smiled broadly as the room responded to the president's joke.
The camera cuts to a scene of the room and many prominent Democrats can be seen enjoying the moment: Elizabeth Warren is having a good grin while Eric Holder claps his approval. Several members of Congress stand up and cheer, notably John Lewis, who was one of the marchers at Selma in 1965. John Kerry is smiling while whispering to Jack Lew, and even Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, who was nominated by Obama, is seen giggling.
Obama won presidential elections in 2008 and 2012, beating John McCain and Mitt Romney respectively. You can forgive Obama for having a crack at the Republicans during one of his last State of the Union addresses: at his first one in 2009, Republican Joe Wilson famously shouted "liar" after Obama said illegal immigrants wouldn't be insured in his healthcare reform.
Of course, the internet enjoyed Obama's ad-lib mastery, with many mixing the joke with Obama dancing on the Ellen show; the comedian-in-chief revelling in his moment.
- 歐巴馬避開與馬來西亞對立 防其倒向中國
The Rise of the Drone Master: Pop Culture Recasts Obama
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR
Drone strikes and government eavesdropping have become themes for movies like "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," as well as for art exhibitions.
針對日美圍繞跨太平洋經濟合作協定（TPP）的磋商情況稱，麻生稱：11月（美國國會）中期選舉前或許難以得出結論…… 日本副首相兼財務相麻生太郎4月25日出席內閣會議後的記者會，針對日美圍繞跨太平洋經濟合作協定（TPP）的磋商情況稱，「11月（美國國會）中期選舉前或許難以得出結論。不管怎麼説，歐巴馬現在大概不具備在國內統籌的能力」，表達了他的見解。 對麻生的發言，日本內閣官房…… (詳見全文)