President Obama used his State of the Union address Tuesday night to press for more government spending, challenge Republicans over Medicare and declare that victims of gun violence “deserve a vote” on a sweeping gun control package.
In what was effectively the kick-off address of his second term, Obama largely pressed on with the policies of his first, while adding a roster of wish-list items – including a call to increase the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour, up from $7.25, and pass immigration reform.
The speech was wrapped in the theme of boosting the middle class and jolting what continues to be a tepid economic recovery.
“It is our generation’s task … to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class,” Obama said.
Still, Republicans saw in his address a president clinging to ideas they have repeatedly rejected, and say do not work.