tv State of the Union 2015 PBS January 20, 2015 9:00pm-11:01pm EST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: welcome to this pbs special coverage of the president's annual state of the union address. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. it's president obama's sixth such speech. but tonight there is one big difference-- for the first time since his 2008 election, he will address a joint session of congress where the republicans hold a majority of seats in both chambers. >> ifill: iowa's freshman senator joni ernst will deliver the republican response to the president, which we will also carry in its entirety. >> woodruff: here with us now, as they will be all evening, is our own team of shields and brooks. syndicated columnist mark
shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. so, gentlemen, as we wait for the president to come into the house chamber, what are you expecting tonight, mark? >> i'm expecting high drama, great theater. (laughter) >> why are we laughing? i expect pride and the question will be how enthusiastic the democrats are and how much the president offers an olive branch across the aisle. >> ifill: david, the white house has been signaling what they will be talking about, the words middle class have been coming up. >> yeah, those people get too much attention. it's very much we get you. so they want to talk about community colleges, tax increases for the rich to pay for the stuff, they want to show we understand, we're with you and you can trust us. so they're going heavy on the middle class and picking a lot of issues, more to frame debates
than past legislation. >> woodruff: they have been trickling out, mark, what the president will talk about. we know he'll talk about taxes and some of the things david just mentioned. >> there was a time we all waited till noon the day of the inteemp we knew anything, but they have been letting it out piece by piece, section by section, and i think it's an acknowledgment of the media world in which we live to try to get it as many places as we can. >> woodruff: as we look at the floor of the house where everybody is gathering waiting for first lady, michelle obama, and second lady jill biden. is it important the president speak to foreign policy in a speech like this? >> i think so. upper most in their mind is i.s.i.s., and they feel things in syria are falling out of their tbrips, that the islamic state has strengthened their
tbrip, progress has been made in different parts of iraq, but they're reasonably committed to the u.s. presence in iraq and i'm struck as they talked today about what they wanted. they want congress to give authorization, but they're pretty aggressive in saying the u.s. has a reasonably strong role there. i think that position has evolved over the months. >> woodruff: it comes at a time when the white house is also trying to celebrate the successes in the economy, the fact the jobless rate has improved. >> absolutely, jobless rate is down, dependence on foreign oil down, american prosperity up, the economy growing. but i think david's point is a valid one, judy. there is a growing concern in the country about terrorism, more deeply than it's been felt in quite a while, obviously because of the reality of events and, for the first time, we're seeing it move from single digits in the polls up to a fifth of americans expressing
their prime concern is a matter of safety, as they see it. so i think -- there was going to be a debate about the question of authorization of force. i don't think there is by any means a consensus on authorizing force, just exactly what the objective is. >> ifill: i'm sorry, mark. we're looking at the floor of the house, including a lot of members of the president's cabinet, six members of the supreme court are in the hall tonight as well as, of course, for the first time since the president has been in office, a mostly republican member components of congress. david, one of the things we've heard as the president's polls have rebounded is 6 in 10 americans think we're headed in the wrong direction. >> it's interesting how the economy is now objectively in good shape. it's growing at quite a strong rate and the unemployment is down, wages are beginning to pick up compared to the rest of the world, the economy is really
impressive, yet that wrong track is till high and it points to the structure of the economy, a new era where the wealth is not shared and the speech, more than any state of the union address, on that issue, why productivity goes up, the wages do not go up and what can the government do about it, and we'll see a lot of little policies but they're organized around that. >> woodruff: the gloominess about the direction of the country, mark, seems now to be embedded in the way we think about politics in this country. can any president overcome that? >> well, we're now into a dozen years of wrong direction, so it is almost set, if not in concrete, at least in wood. there is an increasing optimism that the sense of america declined, is at the lowest point it's been 20 years. so that's an encouraging sign.
still, the income inequality. >> ifill: sorry. we now have the sergeant at arms introducing the president of the united states. (applause) >> ifill: you can nairnt -- youn finish the thawrkts mark. >> i think barack obama has never been the populous -- >> ifill: you mean the fact he's walking down the aisle and shaking hands and hugging both republicans and democrats? >> no, i think it's the policy he's talking about tonight, if-- >> ifill: the people on the aisles are not necessarily representatives of members of congress, it's place holders earlier in the day, so they're
more than likely fans of the president that greets him as he walks in. today mr. mcconnell called this speech his final act. is there that much riding on this? >> no, it's not his final act. there's a lot happening in the world, whether putin, executive orders, whether syria, it may be the beginning of the final act. certainly domestically, i think his administration has cohered and have cohered both on policies we talked about and income inequality. the conversations today with people in the white house, they take it a as a matter of course that we're going to hit the republicans where all we've got. we're going to take the issues where we have a 70% approval and they have a 30% approval and we'll hit them. you could have picked policies where they had agreement but i think the culture of washington is let's find the policies where we have the advantage, that's where the mind gravitates to,
and it's almost like an assumption. you don't even think of going to the policies where you find common ground just because the habits of confrontation are so built in. >> woodruff: but it's coming from the both sides as the question suggested. when you have the majority leader of the senate saying this is the president's final act and he still has two years in office, the republicans are wishing it would be the final act. >> they are, obviously, but the president's acknowledged it in the fourth quarter, and i think that we look at the president's record for the democratic party since he's been in power and we've seen the democrats lose 69 seats in the house of representatives, we're in a position where the position's only hope of restoring the democratic party is to restore
himself because george bush lost the republican majority. people now don't separate their votes between president and members of congress. i mean, the number of members of congress in districts that barack obama carried that are republicans are now down in single digits. there was a time when there would be moderate republicans, democrat president carried conservatives -- people now vote consistently by party. so barack obama's resurging popularity is with democrats. they're sailing on his ship at this point. >> ifill: final thought, david. >> well, you know, it will be curious to see how much rank there is, especially in the initial reaction on both sides. >> woodruff: the president shaking final hands as mrs. obama and the multiplicity of guests in the balcony look
on. i think we can now say the president of the united states. (cheers and applause) >> thank you. thank you. (gavel pounding) >> members of congress, i have the privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the united states. (cheers and applause) >> thank you so much! thank you. thank you so much. mr. speaker, mr. vice president.
members of congress, my fellow americans: we are fifteen years into this new century. fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world. it has been and still is a hard time for many. but tonight we turn the page. tonight after a break through year for america our economy is
growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. (applause) our unemployment rate is now lower than before the financial crisis. more of our kids are graduating than ever before. more of our people are insured before ever before. (applause) we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years. (applause) tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission
in afghanistan is over. (applause) six years ago, nearly 180,000 american troops served in iraq and afghanistan. today, fewer than 15,000 remain. and we salute the courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 generation who have served to keep us safe! we are humbled and grateful for your service! (applause) america, for all that we've
endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back, for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this: the shadow of crisis has passed and the state of the union is strong. (applause) at this moment - with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production - we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on earth. it's now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come. will we accept an economy where only a few of us do
spectacularly well? or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort? (applause) will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our military and set back our standing? or will we lead wisely using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet? will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turn against one another or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled america forward? in two weeks, i will send this congress a budget filled with ideas that are practical not partisan and in the months ahead i'll criss-cross the country making a case for those ideas. so tonight i want to focus less
on a checklist of proposals and focus more on the values at stake and the choices before us. it begins with our economy. seven years ago, rebekah and ben erler of minneapolis were newlyweds. (laughter) she waited tables. he worked construction. their first child, jack, was on the way. they were young and in love in america, and it doesn't get much better than that. "if only we had known," rebekah wrote to me last spring, "what was about to happen in the housing and construction market.
the crisis worsened, ben's business dried up so he took what jobs he could even if they kept him on the road for long stretches of time. rebekah took out student loans, enrolled in community college and retrained for a new career. they sacrificed for each other and slowly it paid off. they bought their second home, had a second son, henry, rebekah got a better job, then a raise. ben's back in construction and home for dinner every night. it is amazing, rebecca wrote,g what you can bounce back from when you have to. we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times. we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times. america, rebekah and ben's story is our story.
they represent the millions who have worked hard, scrimped, sacrificed and retooled. you are the reason that i ran for this office. you are the people i was thinking of six years ago today in the darkest months of the crisis when i stood on the steps of this capitol and promised we would rebuild our economy on a new foundation. and it has been your resilience, your effort that has made it possible for our country to emerge stronger. we believed we could we verse the tide of outsourcing and draw new businesses to our shores, and in the past five years our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs. (applause)
we believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. and today, america is number one in oil and gas. america is number one in wind power. riff three weeks we bring on line as much solar power as we did in all of 2008. (applause) and thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save about $750 at the pump. (applause) we believed we could prepare our kids for a more competitive world, and today our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record. our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high. more americans finished college than ever before. (applause)
we believed that sensible regulations could prevent another crisis, shield families from ruin and encourage fair competition. today we have new tools to stop taxpayer-funded bailouts and a new consumer watchdog to protect us from predatory lending and abusive credit card practices. in the past year alone, about 10 million uninsured americans finally gained the security of health coverage. (applause) at every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious, that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. instead, we've seen the fastest economic growth in over a
decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled and healthcare inflation alt its lowest rate in 50 years. (applause) this is good news, people. (laughter) (applause) so the verdict is clear middle-class economics works, expanding opportunity works, and these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don't get in the way. we can't slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. we can't put the security of families at risk by taking away
their health insurance or unraveling the new rules on wall street or refighting past battles on immigration when we've got to fix a broken system. and if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, i will veto it. it will will have earned my veto. (applause) today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. wages are finally starting to rise again. we know small business owners, more are raising employees' pay than in any time since 2007. but here's the thing, those of us here tonight, we need to set our sights higher than just making sure government doesn't screw things up, that government
doesn'tle halt the progress we're making. we kneed to do more than just do no harm. tonight, together, let's do more to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every american. (applause) because families like rebekah's still need our help. she and ben are working as hard as ever, but they've had to forgo vacations and a new car so they can pay off student loans and save for retirement. friday night pisa, that's a big splurge. basic childcare for jack and henry costs more than their mortgage and almost as much as a year at the university of
minnesota. like millions of hard-working americans, rebekah isn't asking for a handout, but she is asking we look for more ways to help families get ahead. in fact, at every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot. we set up worker protections, social security, medicare, medicaid to protect ourselves from the hashest adversity. we gave our citizens schools, colleges, infrastructure and the internet, tools they needed to go as far as their efforts and their dreams will take them. that's what middle class economics is. the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot. everyone does their fair share. everyone plays ba by the same st
of rules. (applause) we don't just want everyone to share in america's success, we want everyone to contribute to our success. (applause) so what does middle class require in our time? first, middle class means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change, helping folks afford childcare, college, healthcare, a home, retirement, and my budget will address each of these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year. (applause) here's one example. during world war ii when men
like my grandfather went out to war, having women like my grandmother in the workforce was a national security priority. so this country provided universal childcare. in today's economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. (applause) it's not a nice-to-have. it's' a must-have. so it's time we stop treating childcare as a side issue or as a women's issue and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us. (applause)
that's why my plan will make quality childcare more available and affordable for every middle class and low-income family with children in america by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child per year. (applause) here's another example. today, we are the only advanced country on earth that doesn't guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. 43 million workers have no paid sick leave. 43 million. think about that. and that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between app paycheck and a sick kid at home. so i will be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own, and let's put
paid sick leave to a vote in washington. send me a bill that gives every worker in america the. opportunity to earn seven days. of paid sick leave. it's the right thing to do. (applause) of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. that's why this congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. (applause) it's 2015. it's time. we still need to make sure employees get the overtime they've earned. (applause)
and to everyone in this congress who still refuses to raise the minimum-wage, i say if you truly believe you can work full time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, try it. if not, vote to give millions of the hardest working people in america a raise! (cheers and applause) these ideas won't make everybody rich, or relieve every hardship because that's not the job of government. to give working families a fair shot, we still need more employers to see beyond next quart's earnings and recognizing investing in the workforce is in their company's long-term interest. we still need laws that strengthen rather than weaken
unions and give american workers a voice. (applause) but, you know -- (applause) -- things like childcare and sick leave and equal pay, things like lower mortgage premiums and higher minimum-wage, these ideas will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of families. that's a fact. and that's what all of us, republicans and democrats alike, were sent here to do. second, to make sure folks keep earning higher wages down the road, we have to do more to help americans upgrade their skills. applaus(applause) america thrived in the 20t 20th century because we made
high school free, saint generation of g.i.s to college, trained the best workforce in the world. we were ahead of the curve. but other countries caught on and in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to up our game. we need to do more. by the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education. two in three. yet we still live in a country where too many bright, striving americans are priced out of the education they need. it's not fair to them, and it's sure not smart for our future. that's why i'm sending this congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college. to zero. (applause)
keep in mind, 40% of our college students choose community college. some are young and starting out. some are older and looking for a better job. some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market. whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy without a load of debt. understand you have to earn it. you've got to keep your grades up and graduate on time. tennessee, a state with republican leadership and chicago a city with democratic leadership are showing that free community college is possible. i want to spread that idea all across america, that two years of college becomes as free and universal in america as high school is today. (applause) let's stay ahead of the curve.
(applause) and i want to work with this congress to make sure those already burdened with student loans can reduce monthly payments so student debt doesn't derail anyone's dreams. (applause) thanks to vice president biden's great work to upgrade our job strange system we're connecting community college with local employers to fill high paying jobs like coding and nursing and robotics. i'm asking more companies to follow the lead of companies companies like cvs and ups, and. offer more educational benefits. and paid apprenticeships - opportunities that give workers. the chance to earn higher-paying. jobs even if they don't have a. higher education. and as a new generation of.
veterans comes home, we owe them every opportunity to live the american dream they helped. already we've made trades towards ensuring that every veteran has the access to the highest quality care. we're slashing the backlog that had too many veterans waiting. years to get the benefits they. need, and we're making it easier. for vets to translate their. training and experience into. civilian jobs. joining forces, the national. campaign launched by michelle. and jill biden, has helped. nearly 700,000 veterans and. military spouses get new jobs. (applause) so to every c.e.o. in america, let me repeat, if you want somebody who's going to get the job done and done right, hire a veteran. (applause)
finally, as we better train our workers, we need the new economy to keep churning out high-wage jobs for our workers to fill. since 2010, america has put more people back to work than europe, japan, and all advanced economies combined. (applause) our manufacturers have added almost 800,000 new jobs. some of our bedrock sectors like our auto industry, are booming. but twhrr also millions of americans working jobs that didn't even exist 10 or twenty years ago, like google, ebay, tesla. so no one knows for certain which industries will generate the jobs of the future, but we do know we want them here in america. (applause) we know that.
that's why the third part of middle-class economics is about building the most competitive economy anywhere, the place where businesses want to locate and hire. 21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure, modern ports and stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet. democrats and republicans used to agree on this. so let's set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. let's pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year and make this country stronger for decades to come (applause)
let's do it! let's get it done. (applause) 21st century businesses including small businesses need to sell more american products overseas. today, our businesses export more than ever and exporters tend to pay workers higher wages. but as we speak, china wants to write the rules for the world's fastest growing region. that would put our workers and our businesses at a disadvantage. why would we let that happen? we should write those rules. we should level the playing field. that's why i'm asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect american workers with strong new trade deals from asia to europe that aren't just free but fair. that's the right thing to do. (applause)
look, i'm the first one to admit that past trade deals haven't always lived up to the hype, and that's why we've gone after countries that break the rules at our expense. but 95% of the world's customers live outside our borders. we can't close ourselves off from those opportunities. more than half the manufacturing executives have said they're actively looking to bring jobs back from china, so let's give them one more reason to get it done. 21st century businesses will rely on american science, technology, research and development. i want the country to eliminated polio to lead a new era of medicine, one that delivers the right treatment at the right time. (applause)
in some patients with cystic fibrosis, this approach has reversed a disease once thought unstoppable. so tonight i'm launching a new precision medicine initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier. we can do this. (applause) i intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the geeks generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs will have the platform to keep shaping our world. i want america to win the race for the kind of discoveries that
unleash new jobs. sunlight into liquid fuel. creating prosthetics so the veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kids again. (applause) pushing out into the solar system not just to visit but to statement last month we launched a new spacecraft as part of a new reenergized space program that will send american astronauts to mars and in two months to prepare us for those missions scott kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. so good luck, captain! make sure to instagram it! (applause) we're proud of you! (applause)
now, the truth is, when it comes to issues like infrastructure and basic research, i know there's bipartisan support in this chamber. members of both parties have told me so. where we too often run onto the rocks is how to pay for these investments. as americans, we don't mind paying our fair share of taxes as long as everybody else does, too. but for far too long lobbyists have rigged the tax code with loopholes that some corporation pace nothing while others pay full fright. they've riddled it with gaveaways the super rich don't need while denying a break to middle class families who do. this year we have an opportunity to change that. let's close loopholes so we stop rewarding companies who keep profits abroad and reward those who invest here in america. (applause)
let's use those savings to rebuild our infrastructure and make it more attractive for companies to bring jobs home. let's simplify the system and let a small business owner file based on her actual bank statement instead of the number of accountants she can afford. (applause) and let's close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the top 1% to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth. we can use that money to help more families pay for childcare and send their kids to college. we need a tax code that truly helps working americans trying to get a leg up in the new economy and we can achieve that together. (applause)
helping hard-working families make ends meet. giving them the cools they need for good-paying jobs in this new economy. maintaining the conditions of growth and competitiveness. this is where america needs to go. i believe it's where the american people want to go. it will make our economy stronger a year from now, 15 years from now, and deep into the century ahead. of course, if there's one thing this new century has taught us is we cannot separate our work at home from cal leks beyond shores. my first duty as commander-in-chief is to defend the united states of america. in doing so, the question is not whether america leads in the world but how. when we make rash decisions, reacting to the headlines inshed of using our heads, when the
first response to a challenge is to send in our military, then we risk getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts and negligent the broader strategy we need for a safer, more prosperous world. that's what our enemies want us to do. i believe in a smarter kind of american leadership. we lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy, when we leverage power with coalition building, when we don't let our fears blind us to the opportunities this new century presents. that's exactly what we're doing right now, and around the globe it is making a difference. first, we stand united with people around the world who have been targeted by terrorists, from a school in pakistan to the streets of paris. (applause) we will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks and we reserve the right to act unilaterally as
we've done relentlessly since i have taken office to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies. (applause) at the same time, we've learned some costly lessons over the last 13 years. instead of americans patrolling the valleys of afghanistan, we've trained their security forces who have now taken the lead, and we've honored our troop sacrifice by supporting that country's first democratic transition, instead of sending large ground forces overseas we're partnering with nations from south asia to north africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten america. in iraq and syria, american leadership including our military power is stopping i.s.i.l's advance. instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the middle
east, we are leading a broad coalition including arab nations to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group. (applause) we're also supporting the moderate opposition in syria that can help us in this effort and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremists. now, this effort will take time. it will require focus, but we will succeed. tonight i call on this congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against i.s.i.s. we need that authority. (applause) second, we're demonstrating the power of america's strength and diplomacy. we're upholding the principle that bigger nations can't bully the small bioposing russian aggression and supporting
ukraine's democracy and reassuring our nate ope -- our . allies. (applause) last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, as we were reinforcing our presence with the front line states, mr. putin's aggression, it was suggested, was a masterful display of strategy and strength. that's what i heard from some folks. well, today it is america that stands strong and united with our allies, while russia is isolated with its economy in tatters. that's how america leads. not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve. (applause)
and in cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. (applause) when what you're doing doesn't work for fifty years, it's time to try something new. (applause) our shift in cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere, it removes a phony excuse for restrictions in cuba, stands up for democratic values and extends the hand of friendship to the cuban people. this year congress should begin the work of ending the embargo. (applause) as his holiness pope francis has
said, diplomacy is the work of small steps. these small steps have added up to new hope for the future in cuba, and after years in prison, we are overjoyed that alan gross is back where he belongs. (applause) welcome home, alan. we're glad you're here. (applause) our diplomacy is at work with respect to iran, where for the first time in a decade we've halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material. between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear armed iran, secures america and her allies including israel, while avoiding
yet another middle east conflict. there are no guarantees negotiations will succeed, and i keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear iran. but new sanctions passed by this congress at this moment in time will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails, alienating america from its allies, making it harder to maintain sanctions and ensuring that iran starts up its nuclear program again. it doesn't make sense. that's why i will veto any new sanctions that threatens to undo this progress. (applause) the american people expect us only to go to war as a last resort, and i intend to stay true to that wisdom. third, we're looking beyond the issues that have consumed us in
the past to shape the coming century. no foreign nation, no hacker should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets or invade the privacy of american families, especially our kids. (applause) we're making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyberthreats just as we've done to combat terrorism. tonight i urge this congress to pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyberattacks, combined identity theft and protect our children's information. that should be a bipartisan effort. (applause) if we don't act, we leave our
nation and our economy vulnerable. if we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe. in west africa, our troops, our scientists, our doctors, our nurses, our healthcare workers are rolling back ebola, saving countless lives and stopping the spread of the disease. (applause) i could not be prouder of them, and i thank this congress for your bipartisan support of their efforts. but the job is not yet done and the world needs to use this lesson to build a more effective global effort to prevent the spread of future pandemics, invest in smart development and eradicate extreme poverty. in the asia-pacific we reason modernizing alliances while making sure that other nations play by the rules in how they trade, how they resolve maritime
disputes, how they participate in meeting common international challenges like nonproliferation and disaster relief, and no challenge, no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change. (applause) 2014 was the planet's warmest year on record. now, one year doesn't make a trend, but this does - 14 of the 15 warm estyears on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century. now, i've heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they're not scientists and we don't have enough information to act. well, i'm not a scientist
either, but you know what? i know a lot of really good scientists at n.a.s.a. and n.o.a.a. and our major universities and the best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate and if we don't act forcefully we'll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration and conflict and hunger around the globe. the pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. we should act like it. (applause) and that's why, over the past six years, we've done more than ever to combat climate change from the way we produce energy to the way we use it. that's why we've set aside more public lands and waters than any
administration in history and why i will not let this congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. i am determined to make sure american leadership drives international action. (applause) in beijing, we made an historic announcement -- the united states will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution and china committed for the first time to limiting their emissions. and because the world's two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up and offering hope that this year the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we've got. and there's one last pillar of our leadership, and that's the example of our values. as americans, we respect human dignity, even when we're
threatened, which is why i have prohibited torture and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained. (applause) it's why we speak out against the deplorable antisemitism that's resurfaced in certain parts of the world. (applause) it's why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of muslims, the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace. that's why we defend free speech and advocate for political prisoners and condemn the persecution of women or religious minorities or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. we do these things not only because they're the right thing to do but because, ultimately, they will make us safer. (applause)
as americans, we have a profound commitment to justice - so it makes no sense to spend $3 million per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world condemns and terrorists use to recruit. (applause) since i have been president, we've worked responsibly to cut the population of gitmo in half. now it is time to finish the job and i will not relent in my determination to shut it down. it is not who we are. it's time to close gitmo. (applause) as americans, we cherish our civil liberties, and we need to uphold that commitment, if we want maximum cooperation from other countries and industry in our fight against terrorist networks. while some have moved on from
the debates of our surveillance programs, i have not. as promised, our intelligence agencies have worked hard with the recommendations of privacy advocates to increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse. in the next month we'll issue a report on how we're keeping our country safer while strengthening privaciy. looking to the future instead of the past. making sure we match our power with diplomacy and use force wisely. building cogs to meet new challenges and opportunities. leading always with the example of our values. that's what makes us exceptional. that's what keeps us strong. that's why we have to keep striving to hold ourselves to the highest of standards. our own. you know, just over a decade
ago, i gave a speech in boston where i said there was no liberal america or conservative america, black america nor white america, but a united states of america. assayed this because i had -- i said this because i had seen it in my own life. in a nation that gave someone like me a chance because i grew up in hawaii, a melting pot of races and customers, because i made illinois my home, the state of small towns, rich farmland, one of the world's great cities, a microcosm of countries where democrats, republicans, independents, good people of every ethnicity and every faith share certain bedrock values. over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn't delivered on this vision.
how ironic, they say, our politics seems more divided than ever. it's held up as proof not just of my own flaws, of which there are many, but also as proof that division itself is misguided, naive. that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about it. i know how tempting such cynicism may b but i still think the cynics are wrong. i still believe that we are one people. (applause) i still believe that together we can do great things even when the odds are long. (applause) i believe this because over and over in my six years in office i have seen america at its best.
i've seen the hope of faces of young graduates from new york to california, our newest officers at west point, annapolis, colorado springs, new london. i've mourned with grieving families in tucson and newtown and boston and west texas and west virginia. i've watched americans beat back adversity from the gulf coast to the great plains, from midwest assembly lines to the mid atlantic seaboard. i've seen gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in several
states that seven in ten americans call home. soy know the generosity of the american people , who every day, live the idea that we are our brother's and sister's keeper and i know they expect those of us who serve here to set a better example. so the question for those of us here tonight is how we, all of us, can better reflect america's hopes. i've served in congress with many of you. i know many of you well. there are a lot of good people here on both sides of the aisle. many of you have told me that this isn't what you signed up for. arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision.
imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. imagine if we did something different. understand a better politics isn't one where democrats abonden their agenda or republicans simply embrace mine. a better politics is where we appeal to each other's basic decencies instead of basic fears. a better politics is be de bait without demonizing. where we talk issues and principles and facts rather than gotcha moments or the fake controversies that have nothing to do with people's daily lives. (applause) a better politics is one where we spend less time towing in
dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter and spend more time lifting young people up with a sense of purpose and possibility and asking them to join in the great mission of building america. if we're going to have arguments, let's have arguments. but let's make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country. we still may not agree on a woman's right to choose burks surely we can agree it's a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows and that every woman should have access to the health care that she needs. (applause) yes, passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the driving young student and agree that no one benefits when
a hard working mom is snatched from her child and that it's possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. i've talked to republicans and democrats about that. that's something that we can share. we may go at it in campaign season, but surely we can agree that the right to vote is sacred, that it's been denied to too many and that on this 50t 50th anniversary of the great march in selma, montgomery, the passage of the voting rights act, we can come together, democrats and republicans to make voting easier for every single american! (cheers and applause) we may have different takes on the events of ferguson and new york, but surely we can understand a father who fears his son can't walk home without being harassed, and surely we
can understand the wife who won't rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift. (applause) and surely we can agree that it's a good thing a that for the first time in 40 years the crime rate and incarceration rate have come down together and use that as a starting point for democrats and republicans, community leaders and law enforcement to reform america's criminal justice system so that it protects and serves all of us. (applause) that's a better politics. that's how we start rebuilding trust. that's how we move this country forward. that's what the american people want. that's what they deserve.
i have no more campaigns to run. (applause) (laughter) my only agenda -- i know because i won both of them. (applause) yeah. my only agenda for the next two years is the same tas one i've had -- as the one i've had since i swore an oath on the steps of this capitol to do what i believe is best for america. if you share the broad vision i outlined tonight, i ask you to join me in the work at hand. if you disagree with parts of it, i hope you will at least work with me when you do agree,
and i commit to every republican here tonight that i will not only seek out your ideas, i will seek to work with you to make this country strong. (applause) because i want this chamber, i want this city to reflect the truth that, for all our blind spots and shortcomings, we are a people with the strength and generosity of spirit to bridge divides, to unite in common effort, to help our neighbors, whether down the street or on the other side of the world. i want our actions to tell every child in every neighborhood your life matters, and we are committed to improving your life chances as committed as we are to working on behalf of our own kids. (applause) i want future generations to
know that we are people who see our differences as a great gift, that we're a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen, man and woman, young and old, black and white, latino, asian, immigrant, native american, gay, straight, americans with mental illness or physical disability. everybody matters. i want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true, that we are still more than a collection of red and blue states, that we are the united states of america. (applause) i want them to grow up in a country where a young mom can sit down and write a letter to a president with a story that sums
up these past six years. "it's amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to. we are a strong tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times." my fellow americans, we, too, are a strong, tight-knit family. we, too, have made it through some hard times. 15 years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and begun again the work of remaking america. we have laid a new foundation, a brighter future is ours to write. let's begin this new chapter together, and let's start the work right now. thank you. god bless you. god bless this country we love. thank you. (applause) >> woodruff: and that completes the president's state
of the union speech, exactly one hour, as he talks about a great year for america and seems to be taking on a victory lap, next to last state of the union speech and joining us judy wood rough, mark shields, david brooks, and we'll all talk about what we saw in the speech tonight, david. >> it's one of the better state of the union speeches. a nice mix of rhetoric and policy. some uplift, some aggressively uplifting. 60% of the country still thinks the country is on track. he was pretty celebratory, a little off kilter with the move. the middle class economics, a three-part vision, giving people security, competitiveness and skills. i think interesting throughout how we praise policy.
so in 2008 i thought it was a very liberal speech, but this as a speech i thought was very well crafted. >> what tid you hear? i heard a stronger speech at the beginning than the end and i thought he really exploited the advantage he has. i didn't think it was a victory lap as much as a victory stroll, and he is playing to his strengths right now. the republicans are enormously divided. you've got mitch mcconnell taking credit for the economy, and john boehner saying the economy is in worse shape than it was. the republican national chamber said the economy is a calamity and the president has numbers in his favor. he has facts in his report. and i thought that part of the speech with where he built on that and that record was the strongest part of it. i thought when he got a little self referential at the end quoting himself, i think that's always dangerous to do in a
speech. >> ifill: he began and ended that way, talked ant this being the anniversary of illinois and -- >> it was the inauguration of his presidency. i thought that was interesting. as soon as he said it, i said, oh, yes, that's right. i just thought the speech was stronger and you can see the fight inside the administration as to what you go with. at the end, they have late bit of a laundry list of items, but he was obviously on the middle class economics, especially childcare and family care, i thought he was quite strong andtite quiet emphatic. >> woodruff: and didn't spend much time on foreign policy. they said it would be a third of the speech.
i don't know i have to that much. i guess my question is was it too idealistic at the end where he was saying we're better than this, we're the united states of america, we need to work together. does he run the risk of sounding naive, david? >> i think he hasn't been as bipartisan as he should have been opened i don't think the republicans have been either, i think they probably have been worse. you see the evolution of the man. he came in thinking that but things quickly got bipartisan and his competitive nature, he's extremely competitive, has been around. and we saw it most in the comment when he said, i will not run again, i forgot the exact word, like i won twice, and that's in him, the hypercompetitiveness, has been growing week by week and year by year and frames this speech as well. this was an in your face speech to republicans. we saw how miserable john
boehner was sitting back there. this was not a conciliatory speech. amazing, he got crushed in the election and came out very strong and assertive and the growing economy helps. >> ifill: he devoted a big chunk of the speech to what he called middle class economics. he started off by saying the shadow of crisis is passed and here's what we can do next. did that strike you as effective? >> i thought it was the most effective. i was struck by the tepid response to some things, when he -- obviously, on iran, there was minimal when he said he threatened to veto any sanctions congress passed. and climate change i thought he didn't get the kind of enthusiastic response i thought. maybe at that point we were just
four to five minutes in. >> ifill: asking for authorization to use force. >> force, specifically. >> ifill: a very light applause. >> minimum enthusiasm for that. the trade deals, i'm first to admit they haven't lived up to the hype, that was defensive as far as democrats are concerned and most persons believe trade deals have led to more wages. in closing the loopholes, there was no mention of a gas tax on the infrastructure. it was a one-issue kind of split. if we're going low, bridges, roads, improvements, become competitive, there is there has to be money to do it with. >> no dollar signs attached to anything tonight. >> we thought it would be more, because he had a lot of the ideas and we felt taint we would vet get the a sense of how they would be paid for. maybe there will be cost sheets
handed out later but not much of that. the domestic policy was strong. i like how they organize in three baskets of competitiveness, but it was very european. a lot of the things he said, other countries have this, sick leave, childcare, free education, free that -- there was a lot of free -- and their tradeoff is obviously involved -- >> ifill: is european code for what? >> code for european. social policy? >> woodruff: come on, david! >> ifill: was he right? there are always tradeoffs. we do not have 50% youth unemployment rate for a reason. a lot of things, i agree with the childcare policy but there are tradeoffs. >> woodruff: but the premise, he started out saying we've turned the page, this has been a breakthrough year. is he entitled to say that?
>> absolutely. when you get the republican poll talking about the numbers, twice as many american people think we're better off today than a year ago. the optimism going forward is based upon reality. >> their view is the deficit has come down. i don't think he mentioned the deficit in the speech. >> i think turn the page is a little overdrawn. it's still true middle class wages haven't increased in a number of years, but the deficit has come down a lot. i think saying we've had nine years of crisis and busted out of it is a little overdrawn. >> ifill: here we have a president entering the twilight of his presidency no matter how
you put it and he seemed to at least strive to come across as awfully confident at this particular point in time when there's no guarantee anything he proposed will pass congress. >> energized and engaged. this is a man who was sidelined by his own party in 2014 and he came off the sidelines. he is very much in the game, and he wants the ball, and that was very much present. >> that's why i think the contrast for the election defeat is so striking. i think it's in his competitive nature and also strategy and a pretty good one because you make your own momentum and he has. >> i don't think he would agree this is the twilight of his presidency. he would argue i still have daylight left here. >> ifill: the president is make his way slowly out signing autographs mainly of democratic members of congress. as we watch him go out, do you
think he did what he set out to accomplish tonight, david? >> yes, the speech far surpassed my expectation. the policies were presented in a good way. some of the childcare, the sick leave, it's about earning sick leave, he attached it to american values. so i thought, if you're into this sort of thing, this was an interesting speech. >> woodruff: mark. mitt romney promised in the campaign that in four years he and paul ryan would cut unemployment in the united states to under 6%. in less than two years, it's 5.6%. and i think we saw this in the president's manner. i think he united the democrats tonight to great degree, the sum of whom had great misgivings about the loss of the party and
his role in that. and i'm not sure there was any bipartisan consensus -- >> ifill: you saw the look on paul ryan, new chairman of the house ways and means committee -- >> i guess that happens every once in a while. >> well as he leaves the hall. talk briefly about paul ryan, new chairman of the house ways and means committee, he seemed not to be thrilled with the ideas. >> no, he definitely opposed them. the one thing obama said, there are a couple of things he said but hasn't acted on and ryan is engaged in tax reform. he said that paragraph in probably every single state of the union and never was a proposal to follow up. >> they probably all agree taxes need to be reformed. >> right. everybody knows the same formula, lower rates and close loopholes. i thought that's the thing you lead with because that's where you can get at least the shadow of bipartisan agreement.
>> woodruff: mark and david you will stay here. right now we'll bring in domenico montanaro, our political director, he's been in the studio listening. he and his team have been crunching numbers tonight. domenico, what were you watching? >> we know president obama in past state of the unions has been big on jobs, economy, work. tonight again jobs was a big number, 28 times he mentioned it. the economy 32 work 57 times. judy, he did mention debt and deficit five times, just a quick count there at the end as you were mentioning that. these are all president obama's words clustered together from 2009 to 2014. last time around you can see economy, jobs and work really stand out, and that's a big difference from president george w. bush who, in his speeches, you see much more foreign policy dominating. we have iraq, terrorists, must,
fight, weapons, all stand out much more in that cluster. president clinton before them, people, work, children, new, all of these stood out. that was in a peacetime when president clinton talking about domestic issues and much more known for "i feel your pain." >> ifill: i want to ask you to pick up on that because i'm curious to the degree a wartime president has a different state of the union speech. starting with you, mark. >> absolutely to domenico's point. bill clinton said sort of wistfully the tragedy of his president was he didn't have a crisis or a foreign challenge that keeps you from being a great president. you know, i mean, it's really an acknowledgment. >> possibly the most narcissistic thing ever said. >> well, thought by most, spoke by few.
no question president bush's presidency was defined by iraq and 9/11, his response to it. i think that's how he wants to be remembered and how most people remember him. >> by the way, most, must, and the earlier two presidents, rhetorically, the use of the word, we must, we must, a moral fashion, probably a little more pompous. i think president obama has reduced those than previous presidentys. he has a more casual state of the union. the words "screwed up" in a speech, the president did not used to talk that way. he's trying to relate to the middle class. the casualness of the tone is trying to say, i get it, i talk like you, i'm with you. >> two quick points, one was when he said it's good news, fellas, when he talked about the economy and the republicans sat there mute. that wasn't in the text.
that's really good news. it sounded like he was telling them that. the other thing, in defense of his cuba opening, he quoted "his holiness pope francis" as being the architect. there was some deft touches politically and strategically. >> woodruff: it's a far cry from state of the union addresses from roosevelt and -- just name them. >> reagan was the most conversational. reagan really had a great gift for doing it almost just like he was chatting and then he would do the exhortation. it was reaganesque in that sense. >> ifill: one of the things that showed up consistently in our polling all year long is people hated the idea of gridlock and he spoke directly to that, they hated that almost than anything else congress is doing. >> woodruff: the thing that
almost always happens after the state of the union is we hear from the opposition, that is the republicans, and we'll hear from the newly elected junior senator from the state of iowa, joni ernst, speaking in the senate armed services committee meeting room. let's go to senator ernst. >> good evening. i'm joni ernst. as a mother, a soldier, and a newly elected senator from the great state of iowa, i am proud to speak with you tonight. a few moments ago, we heard the president lay out his vision for the year to come. even if we may not always agree, it's important to hear different points of view in this great country. we appreciate the president sharing his. tonight, though, rather than respond to a speech, i'd like to talk about your priorities. i'd like to have a conversation about the new republican congress you just elected, and
how we plan to make washington focus on your concerns again. we heard the message you sent in november loud and clear, and now we're getting to work to change the direction washington has been taking our country. the new republican congress also understands how difficult these past six years have been. for many of us, the sting of the economy and the frustration with washington's dysfunction weren't things we had to read about. we felt them every day. we felt them in red oak, the little town in southwestern iowa where i grew up and am still proud to call home today. as a young girl, i plowed the fields of our family farm. i worked construction with my dad. to save for college, i worked the morning biscuit line at hardees. we were raised to live simply,
not to waste. it was a lesson my mother taught me every rainy morning. you see, growing up, i had only one good pair of shoes. so, on rainy school days, my mom would slip plastic bread bags over them to keep them dry. but i was never embarrassed because the school bus would be filled with rows and rows of young iowans with bread bags slipped over their feet. our parents may not have had much, but they worked hard for what they did have. these days, though, many families feel like they're working harder and harder, with less and less to show for it. not just in red oak, but across the country. we see our neighbors agonize over stagnant wages and lost jobs. we see the hurt caused by canceled healthcare plans and higher monthly insurance bills.
we see too many moms and dads put their own dreams on hold while growing more fearful about the kind of future they'll be able to leave to their children. americans have been hurting, but when we demanded solutions, too often washington responded with the same stale mindset that led to failed policies like obamacare. it's a mindset that gave us political talking points, not serious solutions. that's why the new republican majority you elected started by reforming congress to make it function again. and now, we're working hard to pass the kind of serious job- creation ideas you deserve. one you've probably heard about is the keystone jobs bill. president obama has been delaying this bipartisan infrastructure project for years
even though many members of his party, unions and a strong majority of americans support it. the president's own state department has said keystone's construction could support thousands of jobs and pump billions into our economy, and do it with minimal environmental impact. we worked with democrats to pass this bill through the house. we're doing the same now in the senate. president obama will soon have a decision to make: will he sign the bill or block good american jobs? there's a lot we can achieve if we work together. let's tear down trade barriers in places like europe and the pacific. let's sell more of what we make and grow in america over there so we can boost manufacturing,
wages and jobs right here at home. let's simplify america's outdated and loophole-ridden tax code. republicans think tax filing should be easier for you, not just the well-connected. so let's iron out loopholes to lower rates and create jobs, not pay for more government spending. the president has already expressed some support for these kinds of ideas. we're calling on him now to cooperate to pass them. you'll see a lot of serious work in this new congress. some of it will occur where i stand tonight, in the armed services committee room. this is where i'll join committee colleagues-- republicans and democrats-- to discuss ways to support our exceptional military and its mission. this is where we'll debate strategies to confront terrorism
and the threats posed by al qaeda, isil and those radicalized by them. we know threats like these can't just be wished away. we've been reminded of terrorism's reach both at home and abroad; most recently in france and nigeria, but also in places like canada and australia. our hearts go out to all the innocent victims of terrorism and their loved ones. we can only imagine the depth of their grief. for two decades, i've proudly worn our nation's uniform-- today, as a lt. colonel in the iowa army national guard. while deployed overseas with some of america's finest men and women, i've seen just how dangerous these kinds of threats can be. the forces of violence and oppression don't care about the innocent.
we need a comprehensive plan to defeat them. we must also honor america's veterans. these men and women have sacrificed so much in defense of our freedoms and our way of life. they deserve nothing less than the benefits they were promised and a quality of care we can be all be proud of. these are important issues the new congress plans to address. we'll also keep fighting to repeal and replace a health care law that's hurt so many hardworking families. we'll work to correct executive overreach. we'll propose ideas that aim to cut wasteful spending and balance the budget with meaningful reforms, not higher taxes like the president has proposed. we'll advance solutions to prevent the kind of cyberattacks we've seen recently.
we'll work to confront iran's nuclear ambitions. and we'll defend life, because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society. congress is back to work on your behalf, ready to make washington focus on your concerns again. we know america faces big challenges. but history has shown there's nothing our nation and our people can't accomplish. just look at my parents and grandparents. they had very little to call their own except the sweat on their brow and the dirt on their hands. but they worked, they sacrificed, and they dreamed big dreams for their children and grandchildren. and because they did, an ordinary iowan like me has had some truly extraordinary
opportunities because they showed me that you don't need to come from wealth or privilege to make a difference. you just need the freedom to dream big and a whole lot of hard work. the new republican congress you elected is working to make washington understand that, too. and with a little cooperation from the president, we can get washington working again. thank you for allowing me to speak with you tonight. may god bless this great country of ours, the brave americans serving in uniform on our behalf, and you, the hardworking men and women who make the united states of america the greatest nation the world has ever known. >> ifill: that was iowa's freshman senator joni ernst with the republican response to president obama's state of the union speech. now, back to mark shields and
david brooks. she's the face of the republican majority. >> i think she did pretty well. there's a tendency to smile too much when you give the speeches. i think they all seem to. the speech was fluid. first, she had a much more downbeat state to have the nation. as you've heard, government is dysfunctional. interesting portrayals. second, it was a governing speech. sometimes the opposing speech is an oppositional speech against this or that but this is we're electing the goshing majority and we'll govern. it was almost two executive speeches. the third thing, especially now that republicans have both houses, institutionally this whole thing is set up sort of counterconstitutional that the congress used to be supreme body and it gets eight minutes and the president gets an hour. funny how the structure has been
built up to put congress in the subsidiary role which is not what the founderrers work. >> bobby gin dale rather than marcmarco rubio. thought she did fine. she was the symbol of the republicans winning. she was the face of the republican new majority, winning a democratic seat held by tom tm harkin, five terms in iowa, an underdog, a woman backed by the tea party and sprung a personal victory in the primary and went on to win a seat that the democrats had expected to hold. so in that sense, she was the perfect fit. i don't think there were any memorable phrases that lunn 1:00 will remember -- that one will remember. danny and jim webb are the only two i remember giving that state
of the union union. >> ifill: that stuck in your mind. >> yeah. she was national reserves in 2003 and in iraq herself. you know, she -- >> i'll remember the plastic bread wraps over her shoes. >> yeah. to capitol hill to our political editor lisa desjardins. >> thank you for joining me. what tid you think of the speech? >> i paid attention to the foreign policy aspect of it. >> rank and number? yes, that's true and gravely disappointed in the section about iran. he says that he's negotiating this really tough deal. he is not. number two, on the issue of cuba, my native homeland, i'm greatly disappointed because he pointed out alan gross, we're glad mr. gross is home but i'm glad speaker boehner had great pro democracy advocates for cuba
as his guests. all he did was give away the store to the castro regime. it's shameful. >> i know you believe his cuba policy -- >> very weak. domestic policy, he talked about middle class economy, he says millions of jobs have been great and says change needs to be to happen to help the middle class including changes in the tax code. what about hiss argument the economy has not improved and we need to raise taxes on the wealthy. >> what the president is saying is let's punish folks who are creating jobs, who are the folks out there making risks for america's economy. we all believe in a fair tax code, in a tax code fair for everyone burks this class warfare he claims to be against, he's the one who originates it, he's putting the rich against everyone else and i don't think
that's right. we want to lift all votes and i don't think he's for this middle class economy he talks about. talks a good game but it's everything giving away, you know, college tuition free, i mean, everything is free and very affordable. where is that money coming from? it's unreal math, not based in the real world, and he's saying that the unemployment numbers are so great, it's because people have given up looking for jobs. so his math and our math, they differ greatly. it's like maybe parents who are upset with common core math, maybe he's using that math and we're using old fashioned math, but two and two equals five for him and it's still four for us. >> woodruff: doesn't sound like the democrats and republicans are coming together anytime soon after this speech. >> not much. >> woodruff: now let's go back to domenico, our political
producer for a different take on the president's speech. the applause factor, domenico. >> talking about math, we were adding the numbers on how many times we had the applause breaks where everyone at home sees people stand up and sit down. we had between 77 and 85 if you count the teeny collapse when nobody else was applauding. 75 to 77 real applause breaks. this dates back to 1982, actually, when, at that time, republicans gave out speeches that had applause cues in them. when tip o'neal the speaker caught wind of that he decided 1983 a year late tore take ronald reagan's lines on government and how people who are elected need to be involved in the economy more, and what happened then was reagan said that one line, all of the democrats stood up. it kind of took reagan aback a bit and he said, gee, i thought you all were reading the paper.
then republicans then got up and they decided to clap down democrats, and that's the origination of where we actually started with this partisan divide and the numbers have just continued to grow. the most numbers were for bill clinton, he had 129 applause breaks in the year 2000. gwen, back to you. >> great details, domenico, thanks a lot. joining us are befor beverly ga, professor of history at yale university and robert smith, professor of political science. did it seem like other speeches other presidents gave? >> it did, particularly when he returned to his roots, when he went back to 200 2004 when he td about politics doesn't have to be divided. he also said tonight we turned
the page. that borrowed from his own announcement in february of 2007 when he said it's time to turn the page, and that is what the presidents do when they're in the seventh year with a hostile opposition congress. domestic programs, most of this is going to be exhibition baseball and that's very much in that tradition because there is very little that's likely to get through congress. it's sort of whatever dirksen, the republican senator said about john kennedy and domestic proposal in 1961, said kennedy's speech will have impact on congress of a snowflake on the bosom of the potomac. (laughter) i think some of the domestic suggestions the president made may have the same fate. the other thing is the presidents like eisenhower and reagan, clinton, even george w. bush found in their last two years they could work with democrats in congress on some national security and foreign policy programs. for instance, reagan and ions
haring on the soviet union to improve things. bill clinton on the middle east in kosovo. so we may see that barack obama can work with congress on things like i.s.i.l and iran and those things may lead to coalitions that may actually help him in doing domestic things. >> woodruff: beverly gage, what did you hear in terms of the president not only thinking about his final two years but also trying to win over a congress that as we now know is majority republican in the house and the senate, trying to get them to work with him on something? >> well, i do think it was a legacy speech in the sense that he was marking a moment, very deliberate about mark ago moment about marking the year, the point in his presidency, and i think it was the kind of speech that really allowed him to move out of the mode that he sort of had to be in particularly on the economy. up to this point, he's had to
say things could have been a lot worse, and that we could have sunk much deeper into a depression, the recession could have been much worse. my policy has prevented terrible things from happening. but that's not a very powerful position. signing he was really trying to mark this moment as the moment of turn-around, et cetera. i thought he was savvy about putting the republicans in a position where he was making this grand call. you couldn't really sit there and disagree with him, you know, that everybody was supposed to hang their head in say, yes, things have gotten bad and we should all be better people. what effect that will ultimately have, as i think many people have said much less clear, some presidents who are faced with this situation late in their presidency have actually figured out ways, as michael suggested, to work on certain particular issues, but for the most part, the track record in this situation really isn't great for presidents. >> michael and beverly, both
sides talk about bipartisanship. is it something that's always been necessary to be articulated to get things done? >> i think it might happen in surprising ways this time because, from the republican side, there's a motive, and that is mitch mcconnell and speaker boehner both suggested this in some of their public statements, they know if they spend the next two years and the american people think the republican congress has been too extreme, then voters in 2016 will be pretty unlikely to hand the keys of the car to the republicans for both the white house and the legislative branch. in 1948, truman was able to turn that against the republicans and say, you know, elect me against that good for nothing 80t 80th congress because otherwise the government will be out of control. so i think in ways perhaps we never expected before, we may be surprised by the fact that, on certain very specific issues where there's mutual benefit, you might see the president working with republicans.
>> woodruff: well, and beverly, there is pressure on the republicans, too, to perform to pull something together, isn't there? >> right. they don't actually want to go into the next election being the party of "no," which is a label that has been placed upon them and that has actually really, i think, stuck in certain ways. i think some of the challenge for obama that say a president like truman didn't actually face is that the parties themselves are much more ideologically divided from each other than they would have been, say, in mid-century when truman was dealing with a republican congress or vice versa when republican dwight eisenhower was dealing with a democratic congress, certainly within the democratic party then you had a much more conservative wing that was a southern wing, you had a much more liberal wing, and the republicans had a much more moderate wing that might form other coalitions, and now the ideological divide between the
parties is so serious that it's hard to see the coalitions building outside of moments of crisis or perhaps foreign policy intervention. >> ifill: beverly gage, michael beschloss, our historians on call tonight. thanks very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: lisa desjardins has the democratic response on statuary hall on capitol hill. >> thanks for joining me. great to be with you. let's start with one of the topics you spent the most time on, taxes. you presented a plan to raise taxes more than the president proposed tonight and you would cut taxes more than the president proposed tonight, the same kind of idea moving taxes from wealthier corporations to the middle class. do you think the president went far enough? >> i think the president did a great job. the president gave a really upbeat speech tonight. lots of good news in the
economy. jobs are coming back, the gdp is up. the one area that remains flat are working wages and paychecks and so we need to be finding ways to, number one, boost wages and also make sure that middle class people who are being squeezed on all ends right now have a little bit more money in their pocket. so we've proposed a significant middle class tax cut. the president also proposed similar pieces of a middle class tax cut. in both cases we're talking about dealing with what is fundamentally unfairness in the tax code. right now those who make money off of money get a better tax rate than people who make money off of hard work. unearned income is actually treated better under the tax code, lower taxes, than earned income, people who make money through hard work. what we're saying is we need to make sure folks who are working every day for an earned income and paycheck get a decent
paycheck, number one, and also put a little bit more money in their pocket. >> woodruff: chris van holen who is one of the leading democrats in the house, always a loyal supporter of the president. did the president give his party something to work with tonight? >> i think he did. i mean, the the president -- their fate and fortune is tied to the president. republicans have won two national elections in 2010 and 2014 by running against the president. the "washington post" abc poll, the president for the first time in two years is at 50% approval, that's even better than the "wall street journal," nbc. that is the best news. he gave the democrats a sense of pride that for all they've gone through, the pain they've suffered and the losses they've sustained, it's been -- it's worked. it's better for the country. and to the republicans, was sort of, cheer up, eventually, things will get worse. you know, i was listening, and
she didn't want to acknowledge improvement in the country. fiveesbeen created in barack oba than in george bush's eight years. >> ifill: mark seems to be suggesting what we have is the president has a little leverage with democrats. do republicans based on what we saw in their clearly planned response and in some of the off the cuff response do, they have leverage? they're in charge. >> i think we're seeing sort of a rise of a much cleaner debate over the big issue, the issue of wage stagnation. the democrats you say everyone acknowledges the issue. for a long time, they just said minimum-wage increases. that's not commensurate to the size of the problem. i think we saw a growing package of things when you put it together it's arguably equal to the size of the problem. the republicans have a different set of problems. they don't have the presidency
so they're leg organized. look at paul ryan, marco rubio, giving a set of speeches so the problem flandz our lap, flat wanks. each party is getting will there with their answers. that will be what the next election is about. >> woodruff: lisa desjardins, you were talking to other members about what they thought. >> that's right. one to have interesting ones i talked to, gwen and jude y, wiz a representative of montana, a former navy seal. he disagreed with the president on armed services matters and thinks the u.s. may need top send special forces, maybe troops into syria to combat i.s. overall, talking to many members, some on camera, some off, what i'm gathering is we haven't had any change in the needle at all. the president may have made democrats more enthusiastic about their own agenda, may have rallied his crowd, but even
sensed a shift in anyone. i think if anything what i got from the speech for what it's worth is we'll see another year where we'll have more stark contrast of the divisions in america. we'll be voting on the keystone xl pipeline legislation, that the president wants to veto, one of the reasons climate change that he says is a national security threat. ryan doesn't think it's a national security threat and thinks climate change is manmade. i don't think opinions were changed tonight. i think perhaps some emotions for the democrats were charged. >> ifill: thanks, lisa. what's interesting is one of the things the president said about the pipeline, we're bigger than the pipeline. he's trying to say we're larger than what we've heard before, the debates tore the quality of debates we've had.
does that stick or something we want to hear? >> woodruff: and is it talk? he took it and enlarged it into the infrastructure. it's more than a pipeline. ettes not just talk about rebuilding the country and being competitive again, and this is totally out of proportion which has been the case by several observers who studied it closer than i that there aren't the 35 jobs and the damage to the environment is not as cataclysmic as opponents have suggested but it's become a great symbol more than anything else. >> ifill: was he speaking more broadly or -- >> i think he's doing both. the case for the pipeline is not a bug plus. i think the case is sort of overwhelming. we're stuck with a certain set of debates. he could have talked about gas tax and that's something pretty much every republican economist
supports. that's really taking the debate out of the small ball and putting in the big ball. a gas tax, some sort of carbon tax, raises revenue, helps the environment, it's an economic plus if you compensate and make it progressive. it's a policy that a lot of bipartisan economists support and a president in the fourth quarter who wants to take risks, that would be a fantastic one. >> woodruff: and would pay for some of the other things he's talking about wanting to do. >> exactly. >> ifill: you guys have been hanging in there with us, giving us all the smartest analysis. mark shields, >> ifill: that wraps up our special coverage of president obama's sixth state of the union address. thank you for joining us tonight. >> ifill: you can join our politics team for a twitter chat this week following up on all things related to tonight's state of the union speech. check out our home page at pbs.org/newshour.
and we'll see you tomorrow at our regular newshour time. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
welcome to "newsline." i'm keikichi hanada in tokyo. here are some of the stories we are following this hour. japanese government officials are working to get two men believed to be hostages of islamic state freed. a representative of islamic state has effectively admitted the group is holding the japanese hostages for ransom. and the number of tourists