Full text of President Obama’s address to Congress

Here’s the text of President Barack Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, courtesy of the White House press office

Madame Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and the First Lady of the United States:

I’ve come here tonight not only to address the distinguished men and women in this great chamber, but to speak frankly and directly to the men and women who sent us here. 

I know that for many Americans watching right now, the state of our economy is a concern that rises above all others.  And rightly so.  If you haven’t been personally affected by this recession, you probably know someone who has – a friend; a neighbor; a member of your family.  You don’t need to hear another list of statistics to know that our economy is in crisis, because you live it every day.  It’s the worry you wake up with and the source of sleepless nights.  It’s the job you thought you’d retire from but now have lost; the business you built your dreams upon that’s now hanging by a thread; the college acceptance letter your child had to put back in the envelope.  The impact of this recession is real, and it is everywhere.    

But while our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken; though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this:

We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before. Continue reading

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Reactions to Obama’s address

Here are a couple of official statements from Kentucky’s elected officials following President Barack Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.

From U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell

“Tonight Kentuckians and all Americans were proud eyewitnesses to history as an African-American president addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time.

“Over the years, there have been many important markers in our nation’s long journey toward racial equality. Few have been as compelling as seeing President Obama in the Speaker’s rostrum tonight.

“The President’s message was important and timely: America faces great challenges in the months and years ahead, and I was heartened to hear of his commitment to the millions who are struggling to hold onto homes and jobs and who are worried about what the future holds for themselves and their children.

“As we work to address all these concerns, we will have our differences. Republicans believe the road back to prosperity is paved with greater personal freedom, not bigger government, and that in this moment of economic hardship, we should be more vigilant about spending taxpayer dollars, not less.

“But one thing is clear: working through the current troubles will require a shared commitment as we address America’s challenges ahead.”

From U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning – 

“Our nation is facing many difficult challenges right now and I want to work with our new President to meet them head on.  Many Americans are suffering due to the current financial crisis and we need to work together to find commonsense solutions that will help get our economy back on track.  

“If we really want to stimulate the economy we need to enact policies that will have a direct and immediate impact.  I believe the best way to do this is by focusing our attention on targeted tax relief that will allow Americans to keep more of what they earn.  By empowering American families and small businesses we can create new jobs and grow the economy. 

“We also need to get serious about fiscal responsibility.  We can’t spend our way out of this crisis.  Piling debt on top of debt is not the answer.  If we don’t stop out-of-control government spending now it will only lead to larger economic problems down the road and leave a tab that our children and grandchildren will be paying for years to come.”

From U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, KY-2 – 

“President Obama’s address tonight was a historic moment for our nation.  He made it clear that our nation is facing difficult challenges.  I agree that we can overcome these challenges by working together to strengthen the economy, create jobs, and restore the financial security Americans want and deserve. 

 “I look forward to working with President Obama.  However, I assure you that where I disagree with the President I will not compromise my principles.  Empowering Kentucky families and small businesses by letting them keep more of what they earn, not by expanding the government through higher taxes and uncontrollable spending, is the best way to promote jobs and recover economic growth.

 “I am confident that the American people will show the same resilience and integrity in this crisis as they have before, and because of these strong resources, I am confident America’s economic future is prosperous.”

No indictments in Obama effigy case at UK

The Herald-Leader is reporting that a Fayette County grand jury has decided not to indict two men accused of hanging an effigy of President Barack Obama from a tree last year on the campus of the University of Kentucky. 

From the Herald-Leader – 

The grand jury dismissed charges of second-degree burglary, theft by unlawful taking and disorderly conduct against Hunter Bush, 21, and Joe Fischer, 22, a UK senior, lawyer Fred Peters said Tuesday.

The pair was arrested in late October and told police it was a prank in response to reports that an effigy of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was hung from a home in California.

The incident prompted a strong response from many elected officials in the state.

Text of Obama’s inaugural address, oath

CNN.com and others have the full text of President Barack Obama‘s inaugural address from this morning. 

Obama delivered the speech without any stumbles, and a stumble that Obama had during his oath of office turns out to be the fault of Chief Justice John Roberts

Apparently Roberts was reciting the oath from memory and threw Obama a line different from the one he was expecting. 

Here’s what Roberts should have said, according to the Constitution – 

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Also, apparently presidents since FDR have added the words “So help me God” to the end, as Roberts did today. 

Check out the exchange on You Tube.

Presidential inaugurations – past, present and pretend

For those of you looking for a laugh as the presidential inauguration approaches, check out the Obama Inauguration Speech Generator

No doubt this goes over well with those who as children tried to think up the craziest words you could for your Mad  Libs pad. Even if that’s never been your cup of tea, the “generator” produces a good chuckle. 

If you want to see what former president’s actually said, head to the video site Hulu.com which has a collection of presidential inaugural addresses stretching back to a 46-second newsreel clip of President William McKinley from his second inauguration in 1901. 

And on Tuesday, you can tune in to watch the inauguration online at Joost.com, which has created an “Everything Obama” video channel that will stream the inauguration live for those without TV serve. 

Check these out, and thanks to Mashable.com for the finds.

Beshear offers invite to Obama for 2009 Lincoln celebrations

Along with giving the president-elect a request for financial help for Kentucky during meetings this week, Gov. Steve Beshear has invited Barack Obama to visit the Bluegrass state after he takes office next month. kylincolnsplashlogo

Beshear said he told Obama that the best time to come would be during any of the various celebrations next year of the bicentennial of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth. 

“He indicated that he wanted to come,” Beshear said of Obama. “I told him that would be a wonderful time to come to Kentucky.” 

Beshear said he would be sending an official invitation to Obama from the state to join in the Lincoln celebration, which has events throughout the year.

Medicaid, unemployment and infrastructure on Beshear’s wish list for Obama

In a letter delivered today to President-elect Barack Obama, Gov. Steve Beshear urged the implementation of “direct fiscal stimulus efforts for states.”

Beshear and other governors have met with Obama, who will be sworn in on Jan. 20, during this week’s National Governors Association conference in Philadelphia to plead for financial help. 

Kentucky and many other states are facing shortfalls during the current fiscal year as revenues have flowed into state coffers more slowly than expected and their residents are drawing more on services as the country faces a recession. 

In the letter to Obama, Beshear asks directly for:

  • Increased federal match rates for Medicaid
  • Funding aid for state unemployment insurance programs
  • Funding for infrastructure projects ready for construction in the near future
  • Federal fiscal relief for states similar to aid provided during the recession in 2002 and 2003.

Beyond requesting direct help for Kentucky, Beshear also asked for the passage of an assistance package for the automobile industry, which he notes employs nearly 82,000 people in the state. 

Beshear closes the letter by saying “now is the time to take bold steps to return our economy to solid footing.”

Beshear will conduct a conference call with reporters at 11:30 CST to talk more about his meeting today with the president-elect.

Update…

During a conference call with reporters today, Beshear said Obama indicated that his incoming administration was preparing a relief package to help spur the economy and help state budgets, but has not provided exact details about what the package should include. Continue reading