Citing a "deficit of trust" in government by the American people, President Obama's first State of the Union address urged Congress to erode the influence of special interests and work together to confront the nation's most pressing problems.
In the nationally televised speech Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress, Obama sought to reassure Americans angry and nervous about the pace of economic recovery that his government understood the challenges and would act boldly to meet them.
The president offered populist proposals that some say could reconnect his administration with middle-class Americans, and he offered a plea to end the partisan stalemate in Washington and work for the common good.
Americans "don't understand why it seems like bad behavior on Wall Street is rewarded but hard work on Main Street isn't. Or why Washington has been unable or unwilling to solve any of our problems," Obama said. "They are tired of the partisanship and the shouting and the pettiness. They know we can't afford it. Not now. "
Senators and U.S. representatives filled the House chamber, joined by members of Obama's Cabinet, the Supreme Court, the military and other branches of government. Obama received repeated standing ovations in the 69-minute speech, including when he said job creation was the top priority of his administration.
Some humorous moments occurred, such as when Obama detailed tax cuts in his first year, prompting just a smattering of applause from the Democratic seating area. Nodding at seated and silent Republicans, Obama said: "I thought I'd get some applause on that one."
Guests in first lady Michelle Obama's box included Kim Munley and Mark Todd, police officers who apprehended the Fort Hood shooting suspect in Texas last year.
How did Pres. Obama do with his speech? Was it detailed enough?
Will his speech make a big difference in the way things are done on Capitol Hill? Why or why not?
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