(USA TODAY) -- President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union Address to the nation Tuesday night. Here's everything that went down: the policy, the posturing, and the most memorable moments.
SOTU: Obama says he'll bypass Congress
ANALYSIS: What a difference a year makes
• Retirement: The
president said on Wednesday that he will direct the Treasury to create a
new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA. Obama said it's a new savings bond that encourages people to build a nest egg.
• Minimum wage: Obama pledged to issue an executive order
in the coming weeks that will require federal contractors to raise the
minimum wage for their federally funded employees to $10.10 an hour.
• NSA surveillance:
Without offering specificity, Obama said he will reform surveillance
programs, "because the vital work of our intelligence community depends
on public confidence, here and abroad."
• Iran sanctions: Obama
touted the progress made with Iran on eliminating its stockpile of
higher levels of enriched uranium, and he said if Congress sends him a
new sanctions bill now, he will veto it.
• Immigration: Obama said that if Congress is serious about economic growth, then "let's get immigration reform done this year."
• Close Guantanamo Bay:
Obama said, again, that this year needs to be the year we close the
prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, urging Congress to lift the remaining
restrictions on detainee transfers.
• Climate change: Obama
made the statement that "climate change is a fact" and said lawmakers
should be able to tell their grandchildren they built "a safer, more
stable world, with new sources of energy."
• American energy:
The president said he would cut red tape to help states get factories
that use natural gas built. He also said he wants to continue making
progress on solar, and is pushing for a tax policy that stops giving
billions of dollars a year to fossil-fuel industries that don't need it
and invests more in fuels of the future that do.
• Reform unemployment insurance: Obama
wants to reform unemployment insurance, but first he said Congress
needs to restore the unemployment insurance it let expire for 1.6
• Pre-kindergarten: Obama called for
Congress to help states make high-quality pre-K available to every
4-year-old, and he said he will pull together a coalition of elected
officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more
kids access high-quality pre-K.
• Nasty tweet: Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, caused a stir when he tweeted from
the House floor that he was awaiting the "Kommandant-In-Chef." He also
called Obama a "socialist dictator." Within an hour, the missive had
been retweeted more than 700 times - and favorited nearly 150 times.
• Did Justice Ginsberg fall asleep? Supreme
Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 80, was trending during Obama's
speech, with viewers speculating that she had fallen asleep, or at least
was in full head-bob mode. We may never know for sure if it was a slump
or a nap.
• Cory Remsburg: Obama's introduction of Army Ranger Cory Remsburg at the end of the speech was an emotional highlight.
Obama talked about his recovery after a near-death injury in
Afghanistan, after which the audience gave Remsburg the longest standing
ovation. Remsburg gave Obama the thumbs up, and Obama saluted him back.
• Mad Men quip: Obama cited Mad Men while pushing
women's wages, which was the most tweeted about point in the speech.
There were 33,555 tweets of people reacting to the reference. "It's time
to do away with workplace policies that belong in a Mad Men episode,"
Obama said. "This year, let's all come together - Congress, the White
House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street - to give every
woman the opportunity she deserves. "
• Congressman threatens reporter: Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., was caught on camera
after the State of the Union Address physically threatening reporter
Michael Scotto. The exchange, aired by NY1, shows Grimm getting in
Scotto's face and reportedly threatening him after Grimm refused to
answer questions about allegations concerning his campaign finances.
• Special guest: Willie Robertson of TV's Duck Dynasty was in the House
as a guest of Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La. Willie is the son of Phil
Robertson, whose anti-gay comments in December led to the patriarch's
brief suspension by A&E.
• Joe Biden's wacky faces: Joe
Biden may have had the best time at the State of the Union Address, and
viewers had the best time watching his facial expressions. At one
point, Biden seemed to have lost his focus on Obama's speech and began
using animated hand signals to talk to someone in the audience. Best
SOTU moment ever?
• Jill Biden's cast: Viewers
watching the State of the Union Address may have been wondering what
happened to Jill Biden's arm. Biden arrived sporting a camouflage cast.
The vice president's office says Biden broke her left wrist last week
after slipping and falling.
• Obama's health care joke: Obama
cracked a joke about HealthCare.gov, which seemed to go over better
than expected, considering the website's flawed rollout. "Tonight, I ask
every American who knows someone without health insurance to help them
get covered by March 31. Moms, get on your kids to sign up. Kids, call
your mom and walk her through the application. It will give her some
peace of mind - plus, she'll appreciate hearing from you."
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