President Barack Obama used his seventh and final State of the Union Tuesday night to address broad programs and topics, rather than discuss specific policy ideas.
Below we’ve rounded up 10 of the most significant quotes from the President’s speech. Click here to read the full text.
- On politics:
The future we want — opportunity and security for our families; a rising standard of living; and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids — all that is within our reach. But it will only happen if we work together. It will only happen if we can have rational, constructive debates. It will only happen if we fix our politics.
- On terrorism:
“Priority No. 1 is protecting the American people and going after terrorist networks. Both al Qaeda and now ISIL pose a direct threat to our people, because in today’s world, even a handful of terrorists who place no value on human life, including their own, can do a lot of damage.”
- On American strength:
When you come after Americans, we go after you. It may take time, but we have long memories, and our reach has no limit.
- On voting:
So, my fellow Americans, whatever you may believe, whether you prefer one party or no party, our collective future depends on your willingness to uphold your obligations as a citizen. To vote. To speak out. To stand up for others, especially the weak, especially the vulnerable, knowing that each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, stood up for us.
- On climate change:
We’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future — especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.
- On the economy:
Let me start with the economy, and a basic fact: the United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world … anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.
- On America’s military:
The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin. … when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead: They call us.
- On American entrepreneurship:
That spirit of discovery is in our DNA. We’re Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers and George Washington Carver. We’re Grace Hopper and Katherine Johnson and Sally Ride. We’re every immigrant and entrepreneur from Boston to Austin to Silicon Valley racing to shape a better world. And over the past seven years, we’ve nurtured that spirit.
- On bipartisanship:
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the constructive approach you and the other leaders took at the end of last year to pass a budget and make tax cuts permanent for working families. So I hope we can work together this year on bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform, and helping people who are battling prescription drug abuse. We just might surprise the cynics again.
- On diversity:
We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.