Key quotes from Obama's final State of the Union address

Key quotes from Obamas final State of the Union address

Washington - President Barack Obama urged Americans Tuesday night in his final State of the Union address to rekindle their belief in the promise of change that first carried him to the White House.


Published: Wed 13 Jan 2016, 8:03 AM

Last updated: Wed 13 Jan 2016, 2:57 PM

The following are key quotes from US President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address, delivered to Congress on Tuesday:

Hello, Facebook! In just a few hours, I'm heading to the Capitol to give my final State of the Union address. But before I do, I want to share a few thoughts with you.
Posted by President Obama on Tuesday, January 12, 2016
"America's been through big changes before - wars and depression, the influx of immigrants, workers fighting for a fair deal, movements to expand civil rights. Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, promising to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control. And each time, we overcame those fears."
"Anyone claiming that America's economy is in decline is peddling fiction... I told you earlier all the talk of America's economic decline is political hot air."
"The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians. That may work as a TV soundbite, but it doesn't pass muster on the world's stage."

"When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalised, or a kid bullied, 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 makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country."
"Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer... And because he's gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past forty years, I'm putting Joe in charge of Mission Control. 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."
"That is why I will keep working to shut down the prison at Guantanamo: it's expensive, it's unnecessary, and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies."
"Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, it set us back in Latin America. That's why we restored diplomatic relations, opened the door to travel and commerce, positioned ourselves to improve the lives of the Cuban people. So if you want to consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere, recognize that the Cold War is over. Lift the embargo."
"Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn't deny Sputnik was up there. We didn't argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget... Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You'll be pretty lonely."
"It's one of the few regrets of my presidency - that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better. I have 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."
President Obama Scolds Donald Trump for Focus on MuslimsPresident Obama: "We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion."
Posted by TIME on Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Obama makes going after terror networks top priority, names Pakistan among safe havens
He mocked the contention that fighters on "on the back of pickup trucks and twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages" represented an existential threat to America. "As we focus on destroying Daesh, over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play into their hands," Obama said delivering the last State of the Union address of his presidency to the US Congress.

"They do not threaten our national existence. That's the story Daesh wants to tell; that's the kind of propaganda they use to recruit," Obama said, warning against pushing away vital Americans allies in the Middle East by "echoing the lie" that the group represents Islam.
"Our foreign policy must be focused on the threat from Daesh and Al Qaeda, but it can't stop there," he said.
"For even without Daesh, instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world - in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in parts of Central America, Africa and Asia.
"Some of these places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks; others will fall victim to ethnic conflict, or famine, feeding the next wave of refugees," Obama warned.
"The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians," he said. "That may work as a TV sound bite, but it doesn't pass muster on the world stage."
Obama's comments appeared aimed at two Republican presidential candidates - Ted Cruz, who has warned he would carpet bomb Daesh and Marco Rubio, who says America is waging an existential fight against extremism.

He also urged Americans to reject the politics of tribalism and fear that have rocked the campaign to find his successor and to build a "clear-eyed, big-hearted" and "optimistic" nation.
"As frustration [with politics] grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don't look like us, or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background," Obama said in an apparent reference to Republican front runner Donald Trump's suspicious attitude toward immigrants and Muslims.
"We can't afford to go down that path. It won't deliver the economy we want, or the security we want, but most of all, it contradicts everything that makes us the envy of the world."

More news from