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Obama speech: Key quotes
Key quotes from Barack Obama's first State of the Union speech.
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2010 04:21 GMT
Barack Obama said he will not back down from the continued challenges facing the US [AFP]

Barack Obama, the US president, has delivered his first State of the Union speech to the US Congress. The following are excerpts from the speech on key topics:

On politics...

"We cannot wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about their opponent – a belief that if you lose, I win… We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions."

On government...

"We face a deficit of trust – deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve."

On change...

"I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I can do it alone.  Democracy in a nation of three hundred million people can be noisy and messy and complicated.  And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy."

On the healthcare reform...

"If anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know."

On Iraq...

"We will support the Iraqi government as they hold elections, and continue to partner with the Iraqi people to promote regional peace and prosperity. But make no mistake: this war is ending, and all of our troops are coming home."

On Afghanistan...

"We are increasing our troops and training Afghan Security Forces so they can begin to take the lead in July of 2011, and our troops can begin to come home. We will reward good governance, reduce corruption, and support the rights of all Afghans – men and women alike."

On security...

"Let's reject the false choice between protecting our people and upholding our values.  Let’s leave behind the fear and division, and do what it takes to defend our nation and forge a more hopeful future – for America and the world."

On reducing the deficit...

"Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don’t.  And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will." 

On growth...

"We cannot afford another so-called economic 'expansion' like the one from last decade – what some call the 'lost decade' – where jobs grew more slowly than during any prior expansion; where the income of the average American household declined while the cost of health care and tuition reached record highs; where prosperity was built on a housing bubble and financial speculation."

On trade...

"We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are. If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores."

On financial reform...

"We can't allow financial institutions, including those that take your deposits, to take risks that threaten the whole economy."

On bank bailouts...

"I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal. But when I ran for president, I promised I wouldn’t just do what was popular – I would do what was necessary." 

On unemployment...

"People are out of work. They are hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay."

On job creation...

"It's time to finally slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that create jobs in the United States of America."

On climate change...

"Even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future – because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy." 

On American leadership...

"We stand with the girl who yearns to go to school in Afghanistan; we support the human rights of the women marching through the streets of Iran; and we advocate for the young man denied a job by corruption in Guinea. For America must always stand on the side of freedom and human dignity." 

On the state of the union...

"Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit."

Source:
Agencies
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