tv State of the Union 2014 CNN January 28, 2014 10:00pm-12:01am PST
>> as we wait for the president of the united states to enter the house chamber only a few moments from now, let's take a quick look at what's going on, set the scene. you just saw the supreme court justices of the united states. they have been introduced earlier. members of the diplomatic corps, they were brought in. members of the joint chiefs of staff. they were there. you'll see the cabinet members about to be coming in. right in the middle of your screen you see the vice president of the united states. he is the president of the senate. that's why he's there together with the house speaker john boehner. all of this happening on a very, very important night for the president. he's got to make his case, a strong case, on lots of domestic issues as well as international issues. we want to welcome our views in the united states and around the world to our continuing coverage of the president's state-of-the-union address. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. they are about to introduce the first lady. there she is.
the first lady is giving the vice president's wife jill biden a kiss there. they have their own special guests in the gallery together with them. each one has an important story. the president will outline some of the stories in the state-of-the-union address. the members of the house and senate are obviously excited to see the first lady. there she is right there waving to members of the house and the senate. there you see some of the members of the house who have been waiting for a long time on those critically important aisle seats because they want to have an opportunity to shake the president's hand once he's introduced. so they've already introduced the supreme court justices. let's listen to the assistant sergeant of arms. >> mr. speaker, the president's cabinet.
>> kathleen joyce assistant sergeant of arms. john kerry, the secretary of state. he's the first member of the cabinet who's coming in followed by jack lew, the treasury secretary there. chuck hagel, the first time chuck hagel will be inside the chamber. he used to be a senator. he used to be a senator so he knows this situation very, very closely. but there's john kerry, secretary of state is the dean of all of the cabinet members. there's eric holder, the attorney general of the united states. jake, you're right outside. did you see the actual cabinet members go right past you as almost everyone else did? >> that's right. the cabinet walked by here along with vice president biden and the senate majority leader walking in. interesting to note which supreme court justices did not come this evening, wolf. we saw i believe six of them come in.
but the conservative bloc, alito, scalia and thomas are not in attendance. interesting because we have seen alito at previous state of the unions in fact there was that famous moment where the president was criticizing a supreme court decision during one of his joint addresses to congress and alito was seen shall we say disagreeing with what the president was saying. alito choosing not to attend this evening. >> it's interesting. once the cabinet is inside and they're all near their seats, then paul irving, the house sergeant at arms, he will announce those very, very powerful, familiar words, "mr. speaker, the president of the united states." and of course the president will walk in to strong applause. and what we're going to do, jake, i want to make sure we have a microphone in there. i want to hear what some of these members, some of these senators, congressmen, say to the president as he's walking in it's always interesting to hear some of the exchanges. and we'll presumably be able to do that as well.
so the cabinet secretaries are taking their time walking in. you see the middle of the screen tom bilseck right there secretary of agriculture. penny mercer the new secretary of commerce right behind him. it's always one of those events that everyone is there. but there's one cabinet secretary who is not there, they always keep at least one member of the cabinet away. the secretary of energy in this particular case, he's there. so you see what's going on. we do think, jake, that the president will defend the affordable care act, obamacare as we see the first lady with some of her special guests who will be introduced in the course of this event. we saw kathleen sebelius, secretary of health. she was just inside as well. there she is right there. jake? >> that's right. you see the agriculture secretary tom vilsack, secretary of labor, secretary of health and human services kathleen sebelius. she's had a rough 2013 with the rollout of obamacare.
there is the secretary of the department of education, r.e. duncan came with the president from chicago where he was in charge of chicago schools. jean spurling who will be leaving the white house soon, director of the economic council. shawn donovan, with housing and urban development. there's kathleen sebelius. >> during last year of the bush administration as you might remember, jake, kathleen sibeliusious was governor of kansas. she delivered the democratic response, the democratic response to the republican president's address, the state-of-the-union address. she's under different circumstances right now. it will be interesting, john king and gloria borger, to hear how much the president actually talks about the affordable care act as we see lindsey graham and ted cruz standing by talking amongst themselves.
>> you see two critics of it right there, lindsey graham and ted cruz. ted cruz one of the freshmen republican senators, wolf, already beginning to lay the ground work for a possible 2016 presidential campaign based largely on his opposition to obamacare. that's part of a bigger debate. the president will address it tonight a debate we've been having for the past 24 years. since the founding of the republican but since the republican big win in the mid-term in the clinton years about the size, the role, the scope of government. which is why we have such an evenly divided government that. has been the big fight. when the president talks about the economic steps he's taking and health care, that is health care especially the past couple of years has been the defining fight over the size, role, scope of government. >> i wouldn't express the president at all to back away from obamacare. it's his signature legislative achievement. he's going to say that we fixed the problems with it. and he's going to sort of report to the american public about where obamacare is. he's going to say, look, if we need to continue to fix it we're going to continue to fix it but
we're not going to go back. we're going to stay with it. which by the way is where the american public is. they're still very wary of it. they don't like it. but they don't want to undo what's been done. >> just saw susan rice there the president's national security adviser. she's there as well. a lot of the senior staff of the president, dennis mcdonagh, the white house chief of staff, former deputy national security adviser to the president. so they come as well in addition to members of the cabinet as you see the vice president and the speaker of the house. it's interesting. i think, john and gloria, it's been since the government shutdown in early october this will be the first time the president and the speaker actually get together face-to-face that they have spoken on the phone but i think this will be the first time in about three months or so if not longer that they're actually going to have a little directed counter, shall we say. >> and you make an interesting point about if the president wants this to be a year of
action, a year of progress, he's going to have to develop a relationship with the speaker. now remember, the speaker had his own internal problems during the government shutdown when he disagreed with the strategy of his most conservative members but then essentially let them go forward. now if you talk to people around john boehner, they believe he is at the strongest point of his speakership in the sense he let those guys do their strategy. they failed. they took the blame for it. so he he believes he has a longer leash within his congress. it will be interesting to see if he's willing in this election year about base politics, how often is john boehner will to sit down with barack obama and do business and vice versa. >> they may have something in come on. the speaker can't control his base and the president has had problems with his own base. anytime he talks about entitlement reform or getting the deficit under control or reforming medicare he's got a lot of problems with the base of his own party. i don't think you're going to here a lot about that in this speech this evening because we're looking towards the 2014 elections where he wants his base to be inspired and not angry at democrats.
>> we're only probably seconds away. here's the speaker acknowledging the president is going to be introduced. let's listen to paul irving, the house sergeant at arms about to make the announcement introducing the president, we're told the president is there at the door. you saw the speaker nodding, giving the signal go ahead, ring him in as we see senator joe manchin there in the middle of the screen from west virginia. so we'll be hearing from the president. there he is. let's just listen in as we get ready. the photographers are going in. the president is about to be introduced. he will walk in and will be escorted as you'll see by the members of the house and senate. there's a special escort committee. >> mr. speaker, the president of the united states.
>> so the president gave big hugs and kisses to some of the members of the united states supreme court. elena kagan you saw there and you saw some of the members of the joint chiefs of staff warmly received by the president as well. a lot of those members were very excited. there he is. the vice president with the speaker. they've got a little protocol. let's listen in.
>> members of congress, i have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the united states. >> thank you. thank you. >> thank you so much. thank you. thank you. thank you so much. mr. speaker, mr. vice president, members of congress, my fellow americans, today in america a
teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it and did her part to lift america's graduation rate to its highest levels in more than three decades. an entrepreneur flipped on the lights in her tech start-up and did her part to add to the more than 8 million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years. an auto worker fine tuned some of the best, most fuel-efficient cars in the world and did his part to help america wean itself off foreign oil. a farmer prepared for the spring after the strongest five-year stretch of farm exports in our history. a rural doctor gave a young child the first prescription to treat asthma that his mother could afford.
a man took bus home from the graveyard shift, bone tired, but dreaming big dreams for his son. in a tight-knit communities all across america fathers and mothers will tuck in their kids, put an arm around their spouse, remember fallen comrades, and give thanks for being home from a war that after 12 long years is finally coming to an end. tonight this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent. it is you, our citizens, who
make the state of our union strong. and here are the results of your efforts. the lowest unemployment rate in over five years, a rebounding housing market, a manufacturing sector that's adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s, more oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world, the first time that's happened in nearly 20 years. our deficits cut by more than half. and for the first time, for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that china is no longer the world's number one place to invest, america is.
that's why i believe this can be a breakthrough year for america. after five years of grit and determined effort, the united states is better positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on earth. the question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress. for several years now, this town has been consumed by an rancorous argument over the proper size of the federal government. it's an important debate. one that dates back to our very founding. but when that debate prevents us from carrying out even the most
basic functions of our democracy, when our differences shut down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the united states, then we are not doing right by the american people. now, as president i'm committed to making washington work better and rebuilding the trust of the people who sent us here. i believe most of you are, too. last month, thanks to the work of democrats and republicans, congress finally produced a budget that undoes some of last year's severe cuts to priorities like education. nobody got everything they wanted, and we can still do more to invest in this country's future while bringing down our deficit in a balanced way. but the budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on
creating new jobs, not creating new crises. and in the coming months, let's see where else we can make progress together. let's make this a year of action. that's what most americans want. for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. and what i believe united states the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple profound belief in opportunity for all. the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead in america. let's face it. that belief has suffered some serious blows.
over more than three decades, even before the great recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good middle class jobs and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on. today after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher. and those at the top have never done better. but average wages have barely budged. inequality has deepened. upward mobility has stalled. the cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many americans are working more than ever just to get by, let alone to get ahead. and too many still aren't working at all. so our job is to reverse these trends. it won't happen right away, and we won't agree on everything. but what i offer tonight is a
set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. some require congressional action, and i am eager to work with all of you. but america does not stand still, and neither will i. so wherever and whenever i can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more american families, that's what i'm going to do. as usual, our first lady sets a good example. michelle's -- well, yeah.
michelle's let's move partnership with schools, businesses, local leaders, has helped bring down childhood obesity rates for the first time in 30 years. and that's an achievement that will improve lives and reduce health care costs for decades to come. the joining forces alliance, the michelle and jill biden launched, has already encouraged employers to hire or train nearly 400,000 veterans and military spouses. taking a page from that play book, the white house just organized a college opportunity summit where already 150 universities, businesses, nonprofits, have made concrete commitments to reduce inequality and access to higher education and to help every hard-working kid go to college and succeed when they get to campus. and across the country, we're
partnering with mayors, governors on issues from homelessness to marriage equality. the point is, there are millions of americans outside of washington who are tired of stale political arguments and are moving this country forward. they believe and i believe that here in america our success should depend not on accident at birth but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. that's what drew our forebears here. that's how the daughter of a factory worker is ceo of america's largest automaker. how the son of a bar keep is speaker of the house.
how the son of a single mom can be president of the greatest nation on earth. opportunity is who we are. and the defining project of our generation must be to restore that promise. we know where to start. the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job. with the economy picking up speed, companies say they intend to hire more people this year. and over half of big manufacturers say they're thinking of insourcing jobs from
abroad. so let's make that decision easier for more companies. both democrats and republicans have argued that our tax code is riddled with wasteful, complicated loopholes that punish businesses investing here and reward companies that keep profits abroad. let's flip that equation. let's work together to close those loopholes and those incentives to ship jobs overseas and lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs right here at home. moreover, we can take the money we surveillance video this
transition to tax reform to create jobs rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes. because in today's global economy, first class jobs gravitate to first class infrastructure. we'll need congress to protect more than 3 million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer. that can happen. but i'll act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for progress so we can get more workers on the job as fast as possible. we also have the chance right now to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs. my administration has launched two hubs for high-tech manufacturing in raleigh, north carolina and youngstown, ohio, where we've connected businesses to research universities that can help america lead the world in advanced technologies. tonight i'm announcing we'll launch six more this year. bipartisan bills in both houses
could double the number of these hubs and the jobs they create. so get those bills to my desk. put more americans back to work. let's do more to help the entrepreneur and small business owners who create most new jobs in america. over the past five years, my administration has made more loans to small business owners than any other. and when 98% of our exporters are small businesses, new trade partnerships with europe and the asia pacific will help them create even more jobs. we need to work together on tools like bipartisan trade promotion to open new markets to new goods stamped "made in the usa." listen. china and europe aren't standing
on the sidelines. and neither should we. we know that the nation that goes all in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow. this is an edge america cannot surrender. federally-funded research helped lead to the ideas and inventions behind google and smartphones, and that's why congress should undo the damage done by last year's cuts to basic research so we can unleash the next great american discovery. there are entire industries to
be built based on vaccines that stay ahead of drug-resistant bacteria or paper-thin material that's stronger than steel. and let's pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly and needless litigation. now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to american energy. the all the above energy strategy i announced a few years ago is working. and today america is closer to energy independence than we have been in decades. one of the reasons why is natural gas. if extracted safely, it's the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change. businesses plan to invest almost
$100 billion in new factories that use natural gas. i'll cut red tape to help states get those factories built and put folks to work. and this congress can help by putting people to work building fuelling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to american natural gas. meanwhile, my administration will keep working with the industry to sustain production and jobs growth while strengthening protection of our air, our water, our communities. and while we're at it, i'll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations. now, it's not just oil and natural gas production that's booming.
we're becoming a global leader in solar, too. every four minutes, another american home or business goes solar. every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job cannot be outsourced. let's continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don't need it so we can invest more in fuels of the future that do. and even as we've increased energy production, we partnered with businesses, builders and local communities to reduce the energy we consume. when we rescued our automakers, for example, we worked with them to set higher fuel-efficiency standards for our cars. in the coming months, i'll build on that success by setting new standards for our trucks so we can keep driving down oil
imports and what we pay at the pump. and taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet. over the past eight years, the united states has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on earth. but we have to act with more urgency. the changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought and coastal cities dealing with floods. that's why i directed my administration to work with states, utilities and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air. the shift to a cleaner energy economy won't happen overnight, and it will require some tough choices along the way.
but the debate is settled. climate change is a fact. and when our children's children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world with new sources of energy, i want us to be able to say yes, we did. >> finally, if we're serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, law enforcement, and fix our broken immigration system. >> republicans and democrats in the senate have acted. and i know that members of both
parties in the house want to do the same. independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. and for good reason. when people come here to fulfill their dreams, to study, invent, contribute to our culture, they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to low case and create jobs for everybody. so let's get immigration reform done this year. let's get it done. it's time. the ideas i've outlined so far can speed up growth and create more jobs. but in this rapidly changing economy, we have to make sure that every american has the skills to fill those jobs. the good news is, we know how to do it. two years ago, as the auto industry came roaring back,
andra rush opened up a manufacturing factory in detroit. she knew ford needed parts for the best-selling parts in america and she knew how to make those parts. she just needed the workforce. she dial up what we call an american jobs center. places where folks can walk in to get the help or training they need to find a new job or a better job. she was flooded with new workers. and today detroit manufacturing systems has more than 700 employees. now, what andra and her employees experienced is how it should be for every employer and every job seeker. so tonight i've asked vice president biden to lead an across the board reform of america's training programs to make sure they have one mission, train americans with the skills employers need and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. that means more on the job
training and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life. it means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill their specific needs. and if congress wants to help, you can concentrate funding on proven programs that connect. more ready to work americans with ready to be filled jobs. i'm also convinced we can help americans return to the workforce faster by reforming unemployment insurance so that it's more effective in today's economy. but first, this congress needs to restore the unemployment insurance you just let expire for 1.6 million people.
let me tell you why. misty demars is a mother of two young boys. she'd been steadily employed since she was a teenager. put herself through college. she'd never collected unemployment benefits. but she'd been paying taxes. in may, she and her husband used their life savings to buy their first home. a week later, budget cuts claimed the job she loved. last month when their unemployment insurance was cut off, she sat down and wrote me a letter, the kind i get every day. we are the face of the unemployment crisis, she wrote. i'm not dependent on the government. our country depends on people like us who build careers,
contribute to society, care about our neighbors. i'm confident that in time i will find a job. i will pay my taxes. and we will raise our children in their own home in the community we love. please give us this chance. congress, give these hard-working, responsible americans that chance. give them that chance. give them the chance. they need our help right now, but more important, this country needs them in the game. that's why i've been asking ceos to give more long-term unemployed workers a fair shot at new jobs, a new chance to support their families. and in fact, this week many will come to the white house to make that commitment real.
tonight i ask every business leader in america to join us and do the same. because we are stronger when america fields a full team. of course, it's not enough to train today's workforce. we also have to prepare tomorrow's workforce. by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education. as steven rodriguez couldn't speak a world of english when he moved to new york city at age nine, but last month thanks to the support of great teachers and an innovative tutoring program, he led a march of his classmates through a crowd of cheering parents and neighbors from their high school to the post office where they mailed off their college applications. and this son of a factory worker just found out he's going to
college this fall. five years ago, we set out to change the odds for all our kids. we worked with lenders to reform student loans, and today more young people are earning college degrees than ever before. race to the top with the help of governors from both parties has helped states raise expectations and performance. teachers and principals in schools from tennessee to washington, d.c. are making big strides in preparing students with the skills for the new economy, problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, math. some of those changes are hard. it requires more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for
teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test. but it is worth it. and it is working. the problem is, we're still not reaching enough kids. and we're not reaching them in time. and that has to change. research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child's life is high-quality early education. last year i asked this congress to help states make high quality pre-k available to every 4-year-old. and as a parent, as well as a president, i repeat that request tonight. but in the meantime, 30 states have raised pre-k funding on their own. they know we can't wait.
so just as we worked with states to reform our schools, this year we'll invest in new partnerships with states and communities across the country in a race to the top for our youngest children. and as congress decides what it's going to do, i'm going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-k that they need. it is right for america. we need to get this done. last year i also pledged to connect 99% of our students to high-speed broadband over the next four years. tonight i can announce that with the support of the fcc and companies like apple, microsoft, sprint and verizon, we've got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students over the next two years without adding a dime
to the deficit. we're working to redesign high schools and partner them with colleges and employers that offer the real-world education and hand-on training that can lead directly to a job and career. we're shaking up our system of higher education to give parents more information and colleges more incentive to offer better value so that no middle class kid is priced out of a college education. we're offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to 10% of their income. and i want to work with congress to see how we can help even more americans who feel trapped by student loan debt. and i'm reaching out to some of america's leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing especially
tough odds to stay on track and reach their full potential. the bottom line is, michelle and i want every child to have the same chance this country gave us. but we know our opportunity agenda won't be complete and too many young people entering the workforce today will see the american dream as an empty promise unless we also do more to make sure our economy honors the dignity of work, and hard work pace off for every single american. today women make up about half our workforce. but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. that is wrong. and in 2014, it's an embarrassment. women deserve equal pay for equal work.
you know, she deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. a mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or a sick parent without running into hardship. and you know what, a father does, too. it is time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a "mad men" episode. this year let's all come together, congress, the white house, businesses from wall street to main street, to give every woman the opportunity she deserves because i believe when women succeed, america succeeds.
now, women hold a majority of lower-wage jobs. but they're not the only ones stifled by stagnant wages. americans understand that some people will earn more money than others. and we don't resent those who by virtue of their efforts achieve incredible success. that's what america's all about. but americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty. in the years since i asked this congress to raise the minimum wage, five states have passed
laws to raise theirs. many businesses have done it on their own. nick sciutto is here today with his boss john cerrano. the owner of punch pizza in minneapolis. and nick helps make the dough. only now he makes more of it. john just gave his employees a raise to 10 bucks an hour, and that's a decision that has eased their financial stress and boosted their morale. tonight i ask more of america's business leaders to follow john's lead. do what you can to raise your employees' wages. it's good for the economy. it's good for america. to every mayor, governor, state legislator in america, i say you don't have to wait for congress to act.
americans will support you if you take this on. and as the chief executive i intend to lead by example. profitable corporations like costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. we should, too. in the coming weeks i will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour. because if you cook our troop's meals or wash their dishes, you should not have to live in poverty. of course, to reach millions more, congress does need to get on board. today, the federal minimum wage is worth about 20% less than it was when ronald reagan first
stood here. and tom harken and george miller have a bill to fix that by lifting the minimum wage to $10.10. it's easy to remember, 10.10. this will help families. it will give businesses more money to spend. it does not involve any new bureaucratic program. so join the rest of the country. say yes. give america a raise. give them a raise. there are other steps we can take to help families help make ends meet. and helping families pull themselves up, the earned income tax credit helps about half of all parents in america at some point. think about that.
but i agree with republicans like senator rubio that it doesn't do enough for single workers who don't have kids. so let's strengthen the credit, reward work, help more americans get ahead. let's do more to help americans save for retirement. today, most workers don't have a pension. a social security check off isn't enough on its own. and while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn't help folks who don't have 401(k)s. that's why tomorrow i will direct the treasury to create a new way for working americans to start their own retirement savings. my ira. it's a new savings model that encourages folks to build a nest egg. it guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you
put in, and if this congress wants to help, work with me to fix an upside down tax code that gives big tax breaks to help the wealthy save but does little or nothing for middle class americans. since the most important investment many families make is their home, send me legislation that protects taxpayers from footing the bill for a housing crisis ever again and keeps the dream of home ownership alive for future generations. one last point on financial security. for decades, few things exposed hardworking families to economic hardship more than a broken
health care system. and in case you haven't heard, we're in the process of fixing that. a preexisting condition used to mean that someone like amanda shelly, a physician's assistant and single mom from arizona, couldn't get health insurance. but on january 1, she got covered. on january 3rd, she felt a sharp pain. on january 6, she had emergency surgery. just one week earlier, amanda said that surgery would have meant bankruptcy. that's what health insurance reform is all about. the peace of mind that if misfortune strikes, you don't have to lose everything. already because of the
affordable care act, more than 3 million americans under the age of 26 have gained coverage under their parent's plan. more than 9 million americans have signed up for private health insurance or medicaid coverage. 9 million. and here's another number. zero. because of this law, no american, none, zero, can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma or back pain or cancer. no woman can ever be charged more just because she's a woman.
and we did all this while adding years to medicare's finances, keeping medicare premiums flat, and lowering prescription costs for millions of seniors. now, i do not expect to convince my republican friends on the merits of this law. but i know that the american people are not interested in refighting old battles. so, again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, increase choice, tell america what you do differently. let's see if the numbers add up. but let's not have another 40 something votes to repeal a law that's already helping millions of americans like amanda.
the first 40 were plenty. we all owe it to the american people to say what we're for, not just what we're against. and if you want to know the real impact this law is having, just talk to the governor of kentucky, who is here tonight. kentucky is not the most liberal part of the country. that's not where i got my highest vote totals. but he's like a man possessed when it comes to covering his commonwealth families. they're our neighbors and our friends, he said. they're people we shop and go to
church with. farmers out on the tractor. grocery clerks. people that go to work every morning praying they don't get sick. no one deserves to live that way. steve's right. that's why tonight i ask every american who knows someone without health insurance to help them get covered by march 31. moms, get on your kids to sign up. kids, call your mom and walk her through the application. that will give her peace of mind and plus she'll appreciate hearing from you. [ laughter ] after all that, that's the spirit that's always moved this nation forward. it's the spirit of citizenship. the recognition that, through
hard work and responsibility, we can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one american family to make sure the next generation can pursue its dreams as well. citizenship means standing up for everyone's right to vote. last year, part of the voting rights act was weakened, but conservative republicans and liberal democrats are working together to strengthen it. and the bipartisan commission i appointed, shared by my campaign lawyer and governor romney's campaign lawyer, came together and offered reforms so no one has to wait more than half hour to vote. let's support these efforts. it should be the power of our vote, not the size of our bank
accounts that drives our democracy. citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day. i've seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, police officers, all over this country who say we are not afraid. and i intend to keep trying, with or without congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent americans in our movie theaters and shopping malls or schools like sandy hook.
tonight, because of the extraordinary troops and civilians two risk and lay down their lives to keep us free, the united states is more secure. when i took office nearly 180,000 americans were serving in iraq and afghanistan. today, all our troops are out of iraq. more than 60,000 of our troops have already come home from afghanistan. with afghan forces now in the lead for their own security, our troops have moved to a support role. together with our allies we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and america's longest war will finally be over. after 2014, we will support a unified afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future.
if the afghan government signs a security agreement that we have negotiated, a small force of americans could remain in afghanistan with nato allies to carry out two narrow missions. training and assisting afghan forces, and counterterrorism operations to pursue any remnants of al qaeda. for while our relationship with afghanistan will change, one thing will not -- our resolve that terrorists do not launch attacks against our country. >> the fact is, that danger remains. while we put al qaeda's core leadership on a path to defeat, the threat has evolved as al
qaeda affiliates took root in different parts of the world. in yemen, somalia, iraq, mali, we have to keep working with partners to disrupt and disable those networks. in syria, we'll support the opposition that rejects the agenda of terrorist networks. here at home, we'll keep strengthening our defenses and combat new threats like cyber attacks. as we reform our defense budget, we will have to keep faith with our men and women in uniform and invest in the capabilities they need to succeed in future missions. we have to remain vigilant.
but i strongly believe our leadership and our security cannot depend on our outstanding military alone. as commander in chief, i have used force when needed to protect the american people. and i will never hesitate to do so as long as i hold this office. but i will not send our troops into harm's way unless it is truly necessary, nor will i allow our sons and daughters to be mired in open-ended conflicts. we must fight the battles that need to be fought, not those that terrorists prefer from us, long-scale deployments that may ultimately feed extremism. even as we actively and aggressively pursue terrorist networks, through more targeted efforts and by building the capacity of our foreign partners, america must move off a permanent war footing. that's why i have improved prudent limits on the use of drones.
that's why working with this congress i will reform our surveillance programs. privacy of ordinary people is not being violated. and with the afghan war ending, this needs to be the year congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at guantanamo bay, because we counterterrorism not just through intelligence and military actions but remaining true to our constitutional ideas and setting an example for the rest of the world.
you see, in a world of complex threats, our security, our leadership depends on all elements of our power. including strong and principled diplomacy. american diplomacy has rallied more than 50 countries to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands and allowed us to reduce our own reliance on cold war spoke piles. american diplomacy is why syria's chemical stockpiles are being eliminated. we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the syrian people deserve, free of dictatorship, terror and fear. as we speak, american diplomacy is supporting israelis and palestinians as they engage in the difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there. to achieve dignity and an independent state for palestinians.
and lasting peace and security for the state of israel, a jewish state that knows america will always be at their side. and it is american diplomacy backed by pressure that has halted the progress of iran's nuclear program and rolled back parts of that program for the very first time in a decade. as we gather here tonight, iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium. it's not installing advanced
centrifuges. unprecedented inspections help the world verify every day that iran is not building a bomb. and with our allies and partners, we're engaged in negotiations to see if we can peacefully achieve a goal we all share, preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. these negotiations will be difficult. they may not succeed. >> they may not succeed.
hezbollah threatens our allies, and we're clear about the mistrust between our nations, mistrust that cannot be wished away. but these negotiations don't rely on trust. any long-term deal we agree to must be based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community that iran is not building a nuclear bomb. if john f. kennedy and ronald reagan could negotiate with the soviet union, surely a strong and confident america can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today. the sanctions that we put in place help make this opportunity possible. but let me be clear, if this congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, i will veto it. for the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.
if iran's leaders do not seize this opportunity, then i will be the first to call for more sanctions and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure iran does not build a nuclear weapon. but if iran's leaders do seize the chance, and we'll know soon enough, then iran could take an important step to rejoin the community of nations and we will have resolved one of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war. finally, let's remember that our leadership is defined not just by our defense against threats but by the enormous opportunities to do good and promote understanding around the globe. to forge greater cooperation, to expand new markets, to free people from fear and want. and no one is better positioned to take advantage of those
opportunities than america. our alliance with europe remains the strongest the world has ever known. from tunisia to burma, we're supporting those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy. in ukraine, we stand that the people have the right to have a say in their country's future. across africa, we're bringing together businesses and governments to double access to electricity and help end extreme poverty. in the americas, we're building new ties of commerce, but we're expanding cultural and educational exchanges between young people. we will continue to focus on the asia pacific, where we support our allies, shape a future of greater security and prosperity,
and expand a hand to those devastated by disaster, as we did in the philippines when our marines and civilians returned to aid those battered by a typhoon. and who were greeted with words like, we will never forget your kindness. and god bless america. we do these things because they help promote our long-term security. and we do them because we believe in the inherent dignity and quality of every human being, regardless of race or religion or sexual orientation. and next week, team usa will march the red, white and blue into the olympic stadium and brings home the gold. my fellow americans, no other
country in the world does what we do. on every issue, the world turns to us. not simply because of the size of our economy or military might, but because the ideals we stand for, and the burdens we bear to advance them. no one knows this better than those who serve in uniform. as this time of war draws to a close, a new generation of heroes returns to civilian life. we'll keep slashing that backlog so our veterans receive the benefits they've earned and the wounded warriors receive the health care, including the
mental health care that they need. we'll keep working to help all our veterans translate their skills and leadership into jobs here at home. and we will all continue to join forces to honor and support our remarkable military families. let me tell you about one of those families i've come to know. i first met cory remsburg, a crowd army ranger, at omaha beach on the 65th anniversary of d-day. along with some of his fellow rangers, he walked me through the program and the ceremony. he was a strong, impressive young man, had an easy manner, he was sharp as a tack. we joked around and took pictures and i told him to stay in touch. a few months later, on his 10th deployment, cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside
bomb in afghanistan. his comrades found him in a canal face down, under water, shrapnel in his brain. for months, he lay in a coma. the next time i met him in the hospital, he couldn't speak. he could barely move. over the years, he's endured dozens of surgeries and procedures. hours of grueling rehab every day. even now, cory is still blind in one eye. still struggles on his left side. but slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad, craig, and the community around him, cory has grown
stronger. day by day, he's learned to speak again and stand again and walk again. and he's working toward the day when he can serve his country again. my recovery has not been easy, he says. nothing in life that's worth anything is easy. cory is here tonight. and like the army he loves, like the america he serves, sergeant first class cory remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit. [ applause ] [ applause continues ]
>> my fellow americans -- [ applause continues ] my fellow americans, men and women like cory remind us that america has never come easy. our freedom, our democracy has never been easy. sometimes we stumble. we make mistakes. we get frustrated or discouraged. but for more than 200 years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress. to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement, to free other nations from tyranny and fear.
to promote justice and fairness and equality under the law so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen. the america we want for our kids, a rising america where honest work is plentiful and where prosperity is widely shared, an opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams will take us, none of it is easy. but if we work together, if we summon what is best in us, the way cory summoned what is best in him, with our feet planted firmly in today and our eyes cast to tomorrow, i know it is within our reach. god bless you. and god bless the united states of america. [ applause ]
>> speaking for more than an hour, the president of the united states outlining his agenda for the year. his most powerful moment was at the end when he saluted cory remsburg, a truly emotional and powerful moment that brought the crowd, republicans and democrats, to their feet in applause. gratitude from a nation for the men and women for the united states military who have paid such an awful price over these years, this many, many years. the president also telling members of congress, democrats and republicans, let's work together. he wants this to be a year of action. but he says, in effect, we can do this the easy way or the hard way. pass legislation, let's make a deal. otherwise, otherwise, i'll take unilateral action on my own.
there you see the president of the united states. he's going to make his way out of the chamber. jake tapper is outside of the chamber right now. jake, you have an interview with the president of the united states coming up this week. >> that's right. we'll be talking to the president in wisconsin on thursday, the interview will air friday morning and friday afternoon. the first interview with president obama after the state of the union. a lot to talk about, both in terms of what his plans are and what the republican response will be. we've already heard grumbling from republicans, people taking issue with his approach, with the discussion of doing things through executive order, taking action, if he cannot find bipartisan compromise. some republicans saying that he hasn't seen -- they haven't seen enough examples of the president
and the white house reaching out to republicans who are willing to do things with president obama. so we'll have a lot to talk about with him in wisconsin on thursday, wolf. >> we'll look forward to that, jake. candy crowley, we saw a lot of times the vice president standing up together with the democrats, the speaker sitting down, no applause. there are clearly many differences on these issues the president outlined. >> the one thing there's no real difference in, wolf, that struck me the most was none of these are new issues. in fact, if you go back through the last state of the union addresses that this president has delivered, you will hear all of these issues again, the job training, universal pre-k, equal pay for equal work, on and on, gun control, more money for research and development. so this is definitely the president's agenda and has been for some time now. it's hard to see where much is going to be different in a republican response to that. you add in that it's also an election year, it makes things difficult, not impossible, but certainly difficult. as the president pointed out and as republicans point out, there
are some things that they agree on, but they're not the big things. it just doesn't sound like a year when great big things are going to happen. >> one line basically the president had on gun control, but he did speak enthusiastically about the affordable care act, obamacare. anderson, i know you have a panel of analysts and experts who are anxious to weigh in, as well. >> certainly. let's start with former speaker gingrich. what did you think of this speech tonight? >> i think it's a very good speech. it communicated to the country. his close with the young ranger was extraordinarily powerful. and most people, if they stayed through the speech, would have been impressed.
doesn't mean he's going to move the country dramatically. but for this evening, he gave a very solid speech that i think had real power to it. >> gloria? >> i agree. i think it was in a way a very traditional state of the union speech where the president listed things he cares about, his priorities. what struck me was his -- going on the offense on health care. if the website were not up and working, i guarantee you that the president would not be doing that. but he went on offense on that and said we don't need 40 more votes, right? we're done with that. let's just move on. he also said, look, let's just get immigration reform done, kind of nodding to the republicans. i think this is a president in a difficult time who is trying to jump-start his presidency. he's low in the polls, he's got a public that's not happy about the way things are going and he was saying okay, i'm a leader, i can get things done. >> i think his spiritual high that we talked about, how does he rise to the moment? first half was conciliatory. the second half, when he got to the minimum wage, health care,
much more drawing the lines for 2014. >> what did you make? >> you can see from the moment he came in he had his game face on, and he ended it in a very brilliant and difficult way, which was to both draw the emotion of the individual soldier, and at the same time make it a symbolic representation of the struggle that he also gone through. beyond that, he wasn't strident. all of these decades since then, i think he reached that point tonight. >> nice to hear a more optimistic tone. i think that's good for the country. he wrapped himself very well
with a very moving tribute to the army ranger and the military, even mentioned olympic gold. i think a lot of the specific policy proposals from the speech are things we've heard before. involving quite a bit of government spending, which conservatives believe is part of the problem, and didn't feel equal to the big challenges facing us, which is massive debt. >> paul krugman, did you hear what you expected to hear? >> here you go. whose pen is this? thanks, guys. there we go. >> this is a success story, and it's irreversible. he knows he's one of the most consequential presidents we've had. >> i agree with a lot of what everybody said.
i think this was a very good speech for the president. i think in terms of the ideas he laid out, they're real achievable things that we can do to strengthen the middle class and help people get into the middle class. just because he's mentioned them before doesn't mean we shouldn't get them done. i think the president demonstrated he's serious about getting something done. >> i think i've said before that i think a speech by barack obama is a lot like sex. the worst there ever was is still excellent, and i thought he gave a very competent performance tonight. one of the things working with candidates is when they're in a weak political position, sometimes they confuse volume and loudness with strength. that's what i felt the first half of the speech that he was willing himself to demonstrate
strength and confidence, but he did it with optimism. that is the rare gift a president has. the president is the only guy who can say, we're going to some place better, follow me. i think it's going to help him and the democrats. the policy was, i thought, too small for the moment. >> we are awaiting the gop response. was it less throwing down the gauntlet to republicans? >> i think we heard a lot of people say he would be defiant. it wasn't defiant. he drew lines, but he attempted to say let's work together. we should all be mad at ourselves that this town has been so dysfunctional. >> it was a smart which to
start. >> in the republican response, the next few days, if republicans have any brains at all, they'll respond the same way. >> i think what he was doing was taking the side of the american public in all of this, essentially saying okay, congress didn't get anything done. maybe things didn't go so well on obamacare, but we just have to move on. >> what would republicans have to deliver on from speech? >> i think he did open the door on immigration. >> lowering corporate tax rates was another area. >> let me just point out, speeches are terrific. when clinton came in and sold health care and it lasted four days and then disintegrated in 1993, '94. the problem this president has is that this morning senator tom coburn announced he lost his cancer doctor under the obamacare bill. that kind of stuff -- >> totally misleading story, by the way. >> of course it is. >> nobody ever found that their
private insurer told them the doctor they were using is no longer in the network. it's a garbage story. >> whether newt is right or not -- >> the point is -- >> one at a time. >> the point is, clinton talked health care and didn't happen. obama talked health care and it did happen. it's not going to be reversed. that's the important news here. >> i'm glad you -- in the country at large, day after day after day, people learning they have lost their insurance, people learning what the size of the cost of the new program is, people learning they can't go to their favorite hospital, they can't go to their favorite doctor -- [ all talking at once ] >> one at a time. >> the american people do not want to repeal the president's health care law. millions are already benefits from it. >> that's not true. >> republicans are in the difficult position of taking
something away from people if they try to repeal it. so the president's message tonight was let's move on. >> let's be clear where the american people are. they don't want to repeal obamacare because there's no alternative. if republicans can come up with an alternative out of that room -- >> we're going to talk about this. let's go back to wolf. >> cathy mcmorris rodgers is the fourth ranking republican in the house of representatives. she's going to be delivering the official republican response. she's got a very impressive personal story. clearly the republicans want to show case her. >> what an honor it is for me to be with you after the president's state of the union. tonight, we honor america, a nation that has witnessed the greatest rise of freedom and opportunity our world has ever seen.
a nation where we are not defined by our limits, but by our potential, and a nation where a girl who worked at the mcdonald's drive through to help pay for college can be with you from the united states capitol. but the most important moments right now aren't happening here. they're not in the oval office or in the house chamber. they're in your homes, kissing your kids good night, figuring out how to pay the billing. getting ready for tomorrow's doctor's visit. waiting to hear from those you love serving in afghanistan or searching for that big job interview. after all, we the people have been the foundation of america since her earliest days. people from all walks of life and all corners of the world. people who come to america because here, no challenge is too great and no dream too big. that's the genius of america.
tonight, the president made more promises that sound good. but won't actually solve the problems facing americans. we want you to have a better life. the president wants that, too. but we part ways when it comes how to make that happen. so tonight, i would like to share a more hopeful republican vision, one that empowers you, not the government. it's one that champions free markets and trusts people to make their own decisions, not a government that decides for you. it helps working families rise above the limits of poverty and protects our most vulnerable. it's one where washington plays by the same rules that you do. it's a vision that is fair and offers the promise of a better future for every american. if you would have told me as a little girl that i would one day put my hand on the bible and be sworn in as the 200th woman to serve in the house of representatives, i wouldn't have thought it possible. i grew up working on my family's
orchard and fruit stand in eastern washington. getting up before dawn with my brother to pick apples. my dad drove a school bulls and my mom worked as a part-time bookkeeper. they taught me to work hard, help others, and always, always dream for more. so when i showed my 4-h animals at the county fair, my parents used to say to me, cathy, you need to save this money so you can go to college one day. and so i did. i saved, i worked hard, and i became the first in my family to graduate from college. the chance to go from my washington to this one was unexpected. i came to congress to help empower people, not politicians. to grow the working middle class, not the government. and to ensure that everyone in this country can find a job. because a job is so much more
than a paycheck. it gives us purpose, dignity, and the foundation to build a future. i was single when i was elected, but it wasn't long before i met brian, a retired navy commander, and now we have three beautiful children. won just born eight weeks ago. like all parents, we have high hopes and dreams for our children. but we also know what it's like to face challenges. three days after our son was born, cole, we got news no parent expects. cole was diagnosed with down syndrome. the doctors told us he could have endless complications, heart defects, even early alzheimers. they told us all the problems. but when we looked at our sob, we saw only possibilities. we saw a gift from god. and today, we see a 6-year-old who dances to bruce springsteen, who reads above grade level and
who is the best big brother in the world. we see all the things he can do, not those he can't. and cole and his sisters have only made me more determined to see the potential in every human life, whether we're born with an extra 21st chromosome or without a dollar to our name, we are not defined by our limits but by our potential. because our mission, not only as republicans, but as americans, is to once again ensure we are not bound by where we come from, but empowered by what we can become. that is the gap republicans are working to close. it's a gap we all face between where you are and where you want to be. the president talks a lot about income inequality. but the real gap we face today is one of opportunity inequality.
with this administration's policies, that gap has become far too wide. we see this gap growing every single day. we see it in our neighbors struggling to find jobs. a husband who is now working part-time. a child who drops out of college because she can't afford tuition, or parents who are outliving their life savings. last month, more americans stopped looking for a job than found one. too many people are falling further and further behind, because right now, the president's policies are making people's lives harder. republicans have plans to close the gap. plans that will focus on jobs first, without more spending, government bailouts and red tape. every day we're working to expand our economy.
we have plans to improve our education and training systems so you have the choice to determine where your kids go to school. so college is affordable, and skills training is modernized. and yes, it's time to honor the history of legal immigration. we're working on a step by step solution to immigration reform, by first securing our boarders and making sure america will always attract the best, brightest and hardest working from around the world. and with too many americans living paycheck to paycheck, we have solutions to help you take home more of your pay, through lower taxes, cheaper energy costs, and affordable health care. found out instead her premiums were going up nearly $700 a month. we've all talked to too many people who have received
cancellation notices they didn't expect. or who can no longer see the doctors they always have. no, we shouldn't go back to the way things were, but this law is not working. the decision should be yours, not the governments. and whether you're a boy with down syndrome or a woman with breast cancer, you can find coverage and a doctor that will treat you. so we hope the president will join us by empowering people, not by making their lives harder by higher taxes and fewer jobs. as republicans, we advance these plans every day because we believe in a government that trusts people and doesn't limit where you finish because of where you started.
that is what we stand for. it's for an america that is every bit as compassionate as it is exceptional. if we're successful, years from now, our children will say that we rebuilt the american dream. we built a working middle class that could take in anyone and a workforce that could take on the world. whether you're a girl in kettle falls or a boy from brooklyn, our children should be able to say we closed the gap. our plan is one that dreams big for everyone and turns its back on no one. the president said many things tonight but now i ask him to listen to you. for the true state of the union lies in your heart, and in your home. tomorrow, i'll watch my son cole get on the school bus. others will wait in the doctor's office or interview for that first job. some of us will celebrate new
beginnings. others will face great challenges. but all of us will wake up and do what is uniquely american. we will look forward to the balanced potential that lies ahead. we will give thanks to the brave men and women who have answered america's call to freedom. like sergeant jacob hess from spokane, who recently gave his life to protect all of ours. so tonight, i simply offer a for when we embrace these gifts, we are doing our part to form a more perfect union. may god guide you and our president and may god continue to bless the united states of america. >> representative cathy mcmorris rodgers, republican of washington state delivering the official republican response to
the president and doing it in a powerful, emotional way, relaying her own personal story, which is very impressive, but also going point by point, rebutting the president, especially when it comes to the affordable care act, obamacare as it's called. stay right here. you'll find out how the president's speech is playing with voters, people shaping the political debate. we have a lot ahead, including live interviews with senators ted cruz and rand paul, two republicans eyeing the white house themselves. and cnn's instant poll of americans who watched the president's speech.
did his message impress, did it disappoint? we'll also show you the responses from our focus group in iowa. you'll see exactly which of the president's lines got the best and worst reactions. lots coming up. let's go back to anderson in the meantime. >> let's continue our conversation here. she was saying that the gop has affordable alternatives on health care. do they? because that's the criticism. >> sure. you just had a bill introduced this week by several senators. but it's true across the board. you just had today two senators introduce new bills to provide health to children. the fact is, there are a lot of positive things the coming down the law. some of them are small, eliminating funding for conventions and putting it into pediatric research. >> do you think it's possible to repeal the accordable care is that correct >> you can step by step replace the parts that don't work. even the president said if you have specific fixes, come see me. i think it would be very
interesting if they passed a bill that was entitled the obama promises act. you can keep your doctor, you can keep your insurance. >> paul krugman, do you believe that they have proposals? >> that bill would have destroyed employer based insurance for at least 6 million, maybe 10 million. so it was a far worse than anything that's happening under obamacare. i was amazed by that republican response. i kept waiting for the thing to start. where was the substance? there was nothing there. that's what i meant by obama has the ideas. there was no content. lovely personality story, but zero policy content that's actually true about everything that's happening. >> i think there's perhaps a slightly different view from the republican side.
>> did you see consent in that speech? >> i saw a narrative, a vision very different from the vision of barack obama -- >> what content? >> very different from what obama presented. to tell america after obamacare -- >> what i saw -- what i heard tonight from the gop, which i really liked -- first of all, the gop response can't be a mini state of the union, it has to be a response, what did we think about that? if you try to do a mini state of the union, you have failed. what i heard is i saw a wonderful new face for the republican party, and i want to see more of that. but two, i heard a very different vision that president obama offered, which is instead of a top-down, command and control, washington knows best
machine-like way, hey, we're going to take apart this health care system like we wouldn't let harry reid take our watch apart and put it back together. he took apart our health care system. what i heard tonight is a different vision from republicans, bottom up, natural way to health care. >> that's interesting. she didn't put out any specifics on anything. >> she referred to a lot of the -- >> she had lots of great rhetoric in there. >> but you know the -- >> but -- >> one at a time. [ all talking at once ] >> guys, don't talk over each other. >> school bus drivers make $39,550 a year. do you think people like that are getting health insurance without government help? do you think people like that will have a decent retirement without a strong social security system?
that's the kind of family she grew up in is the kind of family that was middle class when she was growing up but is no longer. this is why we need the kind of thing that the democrats are advocating. whether or not they're going to make it happen -- >> i understand paul's passion about these things. but the fact is, the republican party, if you're following the president of the united states, in either party, it is a very difficult job. the republican party picked somebody that is attractive, articulate, has a great personal story. her description of her son's recovery is unbelievable. he said look, if you think washington bureaucrats are the solution, you've got a great leader. but if you think maybe all of us back home have to take control of our lives some more, that's an alternative path. frankly, in a response to the state of the union, that's about the most you can get. i understand paul would have hated reagan's speeches too. speeches are very useful in a
setting. you don't have the time to get specific. >> i think she did do one thing specific, she talked and immigration and said, we're working on a step by step solutions to immigration. now, this may be the leadership of house republicans. it is not all house republicans. that is the subject of great debate within the republican party. but she did say we're trying to do something on that, which is more than we've heard before. >> jake tapper is standing by with senator ted cruz. jake? >> thanks, anderson. i'm sitting here with senator ted cruz, a tea party favorite, also somebody who is said to be contemplating a presidential run in 2016, although i'm sure it's the farthest thing from your mind. >> tonight what's on my mind is the state of the union. >> what is your response to what president obama had to say, both there was talk of executive order, doing things on his own,
but also some things he wanted to do with congress. what was your response? >> there were really two things. there was one, the continued pattern we've seen over and over again in this presidency of just going it alone, of asserting executive power that has really been a disturbing pattern in this administration. but secondly, there was a lack of acknowledgement of the problems people are facing. for example, the president, nowhere did he acknowledge that as a result of the obama economic policies, today we have the lowest labor force participation this country has ever seen since 1978. that what we're doing isn't working and what he proposed is more of the same. more of the same policies that have caused, under the obama administration, the rich to get richer, and yet people who are struggling, young people, african-americans, single moms, millions lose their jobs and health insurance and he didn't acknowledge any of that. >> the first of your points having to do with the president
taking executive action. he talked about raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers. not a huge step, but the argument from the white house is, look, the president wants to work with congress, but there is a group of republicans, tea party republicans such as yourself and many in the house, who block any attempts at compromise and therefore he has to do something. what's your response? >> that's their talking point, but he doesn't try to work with congress. he doesn't talk with congress. i remember when we were having the battle last fall about defunding obamacare. i remember one meet bring he invited every republican to the white house, sat us in a room and said i invited you here to tell you i will not compromise or negotiation on anything. never been in a meeting where someone brings you in to say we're not going to talk about
it. let's take a couple of examples -- >> when you said he wouldn't compromise, he wouldn't going to unfund obamacare? >> as we've seen the disaster that is obamacare, you've got now a dozen democrats who have publicly come out for delaying many aspects of it, which we could have done this, but he dug in. there are many pro-job policies that have bipartisan support. building the keystone pipeline. overwhelming bipartisan support, over 60 senators voted for it last year, including a number of democrats. president obama is single handedly blocking building the keystone pipeline, which would immediately create tens of thousands of high-paying jobs and harry reid won't allow it to come up for a vote. >> but the keystone pipeline, that's not an economic plan. >> but it would produce tens of
thousands of new jobs. another example, where you have bipartisan -- talk about areas of compromise. bipartisan agreement, repealing the medical devices tax. we had a vote on that. had over 70 senators, huge bipartisan vote, but witness again, harry reid at president obama's urging, won't allow it to come up for a vote. it's punitive, it kills jobs and innovation. what we ought to be doing is not raising regulations, adding regulations, we ought to be championing fundamental tax reform, fundamental regulatory reform. that's how you get jobs. >> you have scathing op-ed in "the wall street journal" coming out tomorrow, the imperial presidency of barack obama is the title, in the nation's history there is no precedent for an american president knowingly ignoring federal law. if you look at the record of executive orders, this president
has issued executive orders than president george bush and bill clinton at there point in his presidency. how can you see an imperial presidency ignoring federal law? >> because the measure isn't how many executive orders but what substantive he has done. if he doesn't agree with a law, he won't enforce it. most strikingly, he's done that on obamacare. the text of the law says the employer mandate kicks in on january 1, 2014. contrary to law, president obama just granted a one-year extension to big business. he has no authority to do so, but he told big business, ignore that part of the law for a year. the text of the law says members of the congress should be on the -- harry reid and the senators didn't want to be on the exchanges and president obama granted them an exemption. and when over 5 million americans lost their health
insurance, every other president would have gone to congress and tried to negotiate a way to fix a law that was hurting people. what he did instead is he held a press conference and told insurance companies issue laws that the statute obamacare makes illegal. there is no precedent for a president instructing private companies, violate the law, i'm telling you to ignore the law. that's dangerous when the president picks and chooses what laws to follow. >> i know president obama disagrees with how you'll assessing things. wolf, we'll have more with senator ted cruz later. but for now back to you. >> thank you very much, jake. we're looking forward to your interview with the president later this week, as well. candy crowley is up on capitol hill and has a special guest with a very different perspective.
>> we don't have to wait for the president to get our initial response of ted cruz. i've been standing here with senator barbara boxer, democrat from california. i can assure you she's going to disagree here. first of all, this idea of the imperial presidency that he said i'll work with you, but guess what? i'm not going to stand still, i'm going to use the power of my pen to do executive orders. >> the president spoke for the people. the people want action. the people understand, and i think it was really important that the president explain to them what is the fact that we have created 8 million jobs since this great recession. >> not great jobs, you would admit. >> some of them are terrific, not all of them. but the president said the stock market reached new levels, created 8 million new jobs. but the middle class is stuck, stuck. and opportunity isn't there. and the whole notion of opportunity for all is what the president was saying.
listen, as i mentioned to you before we went on camera, i've seen 30 of these speeches. up to now, hands down, ronald reagan was the best. but being in that room, i think this president was great. i thought it was one of the greatest speeches because he spoke to the dreams, the aspirations, the hopes, the fears of the people, and yet he was specific. so i don't know if cruz was in the room with me or not. >> he was specific, but he was specific about a lot of things he's pushed for before. the minimum wage. he obviously wants to extend unemployment benefits for the job training, pre-k, all of that. he's been unable to get it so far. why is this year any different? these are good middle class -- >> but the people want it. everything you said, the people are on his side.
we just need to reach across the aisle and get a hand back. my dad used to tell me when i was a kid, nothing good comes easy. you don't give up. just because they blocked immigration reform, we're going to get it this year. just because they weren't with us on the minimum wage before, you keep pushing. the point, and why i thought this was such a great speech, when the president introduced that wounded hero standing next to michelle, after what that man went through, lying on the ground, and all the rest of it, his point was, you never give up. he doesn't give up. i'm not going to give up. i hope you don't give up, whatever your dreams are. and the president spoke to that. and that's why this was a great speech. >> how realistic is it? >> very realistic. he called for the passage of a transportation bill and water resources bill.
i'm meeting with my republican counterparts, and bottom line is, we're going to get that done. and i think you're going to see immigration reform. and i think, yes, he has issued executive ordered. but as your reporter pointed out, less that be any other president since ronald reagan. so he's going to do what he can do, raising the minimum wage for contract employees is a good start. i think we're going to see some of this done, candy. >> even though it's a midterm election year, which always gets in the way of getting things done. >> i don't look at it that way. i think people are resonating with this middle class agenda. they're going to demand we act. we've seen a couple of bills past, right? budget appropriations, et cetera. >> senator barbara boxer, let's talk more later. >> any time. >> wolf, back to you. >> thank you very much. thanks to senator boxer, as well. our coverage of the president's
state of the union address continues right now. >> mr. speaker, the president of the united states! >> a familiar power walk, and a vision for moving forward. >> opportunity is who we are. the defining project of our generation must be to restore that promise. >> tonight, president obama laid out his 2014 priorities. >> let's make this a year of action. that's what most americans want. >> a different spin from republicans, and a new face to deliver their message. >> tonight, the president made more promises that sound good but won't solve the problems facing americans. >> the promises and pot spots. will anything be different? will anything get done? >> wherever and whenever i can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for american families, that's what i'm going to do. >> this is cnn's coverage of the
state of the union address. the republican response. and the issues shaping the battle for congress. his vision. their challenge. your future. the 2014 campaign is under way right now. >> it is you, our citizens, who make the state of the union strong. >> welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. we're here in a snowy washington, d.c. i'm wolf blitzer reporting. we heard a sweeping call by president obama tonight for a year after action that would bring greater opportunity to all americans. he laid down a marker to republicans, promising to use his executive power to act on his own if congress stands in his way.