Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Obama wagers second term capital on bold reform drive
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Feb 12, 2013

US President Barack Obama Tuesday staked his second term political capital on a full-bore drive to cut gun crime, reform the immigration system and to ignite economic growth and job creation.

In his annual State of the Union address, Obama referred only in passing to tense nuclear showdowns with North Korea and Iran, but in keeping with an inward looking address, pledged to bring half of US troops in Afghanistan home in a year.

Grasping for a note of optimism in still grim economic times, Obama recalled how in his first term, America had rebounded from the worst economic crisis in generations, before delivering a speech packed with policy initiatives.

"Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger," Obama said, in a speech punctuated by raucous cheers in the House of Representatives.

The address was Obama's best chance to speak directly to Americans to build support for his plans after his November election win, as he seeks to stave off the domestic lame duck status that eventually hits all second term presidents.

Obama said America's key task was working to stabilize its budget, and said looming automatic spending cuts due to hit in March which could throw the economy into chaos and increase unemployment were "a really bad idea."

"A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs -- that must be the North Star that guides our efforts," Obama said.

"It is our generation's task, then, to reignite the true engine of America's economic growth -- a rising, thriving middle class."

Obama turned only briefly to foreign policy, saying North Korea's nuclear test earlier on Tuesday would only isolate the Stalinist state further, in toned down language apparently designed to deprive Pyongyang of attention.

He did promise to stand by America's Asian allies, "strengthen our own missile defense, and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats."

Ahead of new nuclear talks between world powers and Tehran this month, Obama said the "leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution" and said a global coalition was united against the Islamic Republic.

Breaking new foreign policy ground, Obama announced the formal beginning of talks between the United States and Europe on a trans-Atlantic trade pact and previewed a new plan to thwart cyber attacks on US infrastructure.

The US president, criticized for doing too little as nearly 70,000 people have died in civil war in Syria vowed to keep up pressure on the Assad regime and said he would stand firm in defense of Israel, which he will visit next month.

Obama, in line with his core mission of ending a draining decade of foreign wars, announced the return of 34,000 of the 66,000 US troops remaining in Afghanistan by next February, ahead of a full withdrawal in 2014.

"This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over," he said.

Obama also called on Congress to act finally on climate change, hitting out at those who deny global warming.

"We can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science -- and act before it's too late," Obama said.

In line with a long-time policy goal, Obama said former Cold War foes Russia and the United States should join to further reduce nuclear arsenals.

Domestically, Obama said he wanted a bill to reform America's broken immigration system to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship within months.

And he was at his most impassioned as he made a case to a tough audience in Congress for more efforts to crack down on gun violence, following the killings of 20 kids at a Connecticut elementary school in December.

"If you want to vote no, that's your choice," Obama told lawmakers.

"But these proposals deserve a vote.

"Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun."

Obama wants to close background check loopholes, to ban military style assault weapons and high capacity magazines and to improve mental health services.

Looking on in the House box of First Lady Michelle Obama were the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, a teenager gunned down in a random shooting not far from the president's Chicago home days after she took part in his inaugural parade.

Republicans, who control the House and can clog up the Democratic-run Senate, were already maneuvering to thwart Obama, after losing a tussle to the president late last year over rising taxes on the rich.

Rising Republican star Marco Rubio noted in excerpts of his response to the president that the US economy shrank 0.1 percent in the last quarter of 2012, and said Obama's spending plans would make it worse.

"I hope the president will abandon his obsession with raising taxes and instead work with us to achieve real growth in our economy," Rubio said.

Hitting full campaign mode, Obama will travel to North Carolina, Georgia and his hometown of Chicago to tout key aspects of the speech this week.


Related Links
The Economy

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

US economy picks up, China might slow: OECD indicator
Paris (AFP) Feb 11, 2013
Economic activity in the United States is rising, in the eurozone it is steadying, but in China and India the growth trend is slowing, leading indicators from the OECD showed on Monday. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said that its index of leading indicators suggested that economic growth in the United States was "firming". Activity in Britain was also firming ... read more

Aid trickles into tsunami-hit Solomons despite aftershocks

Smartphones, tablets help UW researchers improve storm forecasts

Rescuers struggle to aid Solomons quake victims

HDT Global Awarded Guardian Angel Air-Deployable Rescue Vehicle Contract

3D Printing on the Micrometer Scale

Nextdoor renovates before taking on the world

High-energy X-rays shine light on mystery of Picasso's paints

Satellite undergoes extreme testing

Purification on the cheap

LSU Professor Discovers How New Corals Species Form in the Ocean

New panel to scrutinise ocean governance

Pacific Locked in 'La Nada' Limbo

Features Of Southeast European Human Ancestors Influenced By Lack Of Episodic Glaciations

Polar bear researchers urge governments to act now and save the species

Cyclone did not cause 2012 record low for Arctic sea ice

NSF-funded Team Samples Antarctic Lake Beneath the Ice Sheet

Plant scientists at CSHL demonstrate new means of boosting maize yields

Scientists identify genetic mechanism that contributed to Irish Famine

Can plants be altruistic?

Investors who trample land rights risk bottom line: experts

Cargo container research to improve buildings' ability to withstand tsunamis

Powerful aftershocks rattle Solomon Islands

Hoodoos - key to earthquakes?

Aftershocks stall aid efforts in tsunami-hit Solomons

Jane Goodall: chimp scientist turned activist

Plane carrying Guinea army delegation crashes in Liberia

Ghana extradites ex-military chief to I. Coast: security

Sudan president in Eritrea after Asmara mutiny: reports

The last Neanderthals of southern Iberia did not coexist with modern humans

Computer helping save lost languages

Archaic Native Americans built massive Louisiana mound in less than 90 days

Dogs may understand human point of view

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement