Frustrated Obama talks about political divide

Posted at 11:06 PM, Jan 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-12 23:13:40-05

Talking about the current state of politics in the United States, President Barack Obama said that he was frustrated by the political divide and his inability to unite Americans during his tenure as president. 

During his one-hour address before a joint sessions of Congress, Obama laid mostly kept away from the tradition of past presidents of reinforcing his tenure, opting to close with stating his biggest frustration as president. 

"Most of all, democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn’t matter; that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some narrow interest," Obama said.

"Too many Americans feel that way right now.  It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency – that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better."

Hoosier leaders react to Obama's speech:

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats (R-Indiana): “What the American people saw tonight is a president divorced from reality. Despite President Obama’s campaign pledge to unite our country, today the United States is deeply divided and nearly 70 percent of Americans say that our nation is on the wrong track. President Obama said tonight that there is much work to be done, and on that count we agree. The president will pass along numerous challenges to his successor next year. As we prepare for that transition, there is no better playbook for getting America back on the right track than the one used by our leaders in Indiana.”

Congressman Luke Messer (R-Shelbyville): “The President always gives a good speech, but despite the flowery rhetoric, he still has no strategy to defeat ISIS or get America’s economy going again. Most remarkably, as the Obama Administration enters its eighth year, the President speaks as if every problem in America is somebody else’s fault. The truth is, the President has played a major role in today’s divided America.  And, most Americans are tired of empty words.  They want real leadership."

Congressman André Carson (D-Indianapolis): “Tonight, the President laid out his vision of a brighter American future. A future where we continue to create new jobs and work to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to enter the middle-class. A future where students have the means to unlock the doors of a quality education, where workers can still get the skills they need to compete for 21st century jobs, and where our businesses on Main Street can find and afford the tools they need to grow and expand.The president highlighted many of the toughest challenges facing our country, from disease to poverty to terrorism, and laid out a path forward which both parties can follow to achieve real results. 

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody: “In 2008, the United States needed a true leader who would repair the well-being of our national and all Americans, and would help guide the nation into the 21st Century. With this evening marking his last State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama has been the true champion everyday Americans and Hoosiers have needed. Not only did the President save the country from the next Great Depression, he rescued the auto industry and kept many hardworking Americans, including thousands of Hoosiers, from losing their jobs."

Obama is took a few jabs at the Republican presidential field in his final State of the Union address.

Obama said the world is looking to the U.S. to address threats in the Middle East and elsewhere. He said the U.S. response must be more than calls "to carpet bomb civilians." Obama says that works as a sound bite on television, but doesn't pass the test on the world stage.

The remarks are aimed at Republican candidates, including Ted Cruz, who has said he'd carpet bomb the Islamic State group. Donald Trump has used similarly bombastic language to describe how he'd attack the Islamic State group.

Obama is also criticizing those who say the U.S. is getting weaker or that its economy is declining. He says that's just "political hot air."

Obama pledged at the start of his State of the Union address that he was going to try to keep his last address shorter.

Well, it was shorter than most of his State of the Unions, but not shorter than his first.

There were two White House hopefuls attending President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address — Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.

Florida's Rubio was backslapping with GOP colleagues like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, chatting with Arizona Sen. John McCain and hugging Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina.

Sanders shook hands as he entered the House chamber and then joined Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed to hear the speech.

Two other GOP candidates — Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — skipped the speech.


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