President urges Americans to avoid cynicism, work together


In his final State of the Union speech Tuesday evening, President Barack Obama chided cynics, defended the economy, warned terrorists, and called for a cancer cure.

There was more in the speech, too. You can read the full text here or watch the video here.

But here's a look at a few of the themes the president raised:

1. Better politics, not cynicism

In calling for "a better politics," Obama said the challenges facing the country can only be overcome if Americans "can have rational, constructive debates," USA Today reports.

He said that by working together, Americans "just might surprise the cynics again," Bloomberg notes.

But he acknowledged that during his presidency the divisions between Democrats and Republicans have gotten worse, calling that one of his biggest regrets, the Associated Press says.

2. Defense of the economy

President Obama took exception with Republican critics who have argued on the campaign trail that the U.S. economy is only limping along.

FOX News says he called America's economy the most durable in the world and said it has improved under his watch.

He called criticisms of his economic stewardship "political hot air," the AP reports.

3. On terrorism: "ask bin Laden"

Obama said terrorist groups should know that "When you come after Americans, we go after you." ABC News reports he added "If you doubt America's commitment or mine to see that justice is done, ask Osama bin Laden."

FOX News says the president downplayed the threat posed by Islamic State, saying the terrorist fighters "do not threaten our national existence."

4. Cure cancer

The president also called on America to "cure cancer once and for all." Obama recalled that last year Vice-President Joe Biden had said that "with one moonshot, America can cure cancer." Obama announced a new national effort to get it done and said "I'm putting Joe in charge of Mission Control."

Republican response

After Obama's speech, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley delivered the Republican response, telling the country “Soon, the Obama presidency will end, and America will have the chance to turn in a new direction." You can watch Haley's address here.

Some reaction from Minnesota

Here's a look at some of the reaction from a handful of Minnesota's U.S. lawmakers:

Sen. Al Franken (D)

Franken in an email statement said he was "pleased to see [Obama] focus on things that are important to Minnesotans," including the economy and national security. However, Franken was "especially pleased" when the president spoke about climate change, which the senator calls "one of the gravest threats that we face as a people.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D)

On Facebook, Rep. Ellison praised Obama for laying out "a vision for a more inclusive, tolerant, and fair America." Ellison also said Congress' Progressive Caucus (which he is part of) "will continue to do its part for Americans who work hard and play by the rules."

Rep. Tom Emmer (R)

Rep. Tom Emmer used Twitter to have staffers reiterate some of the representative's stances – including what he feels has been "disastrous" foreign policy in the Middle East, and his belief in the importance of a good Internet connection.

Rep. Rick Nolan (D)

In a statement, Nolan said he felt the State of the Union's overall message was, "Keep rebuilding America" – which includes better jobs and educational opportunities, as well as health treatment options. He also said he applauds Obama for arguing military should not be the only thing that shows the United States' leadership in the world, but also "the success of our diplomacy and the strength of our economy and our people as we work to bring nations together to address climate change, fight hunger, reduce the nuclear threat and engage our allies in the pursuit of peace, human development and justice for all."

Next Up

P.J. Fleck

Gopher players defend PJ Fleck after WCCO-TV report

"The public has made our statement," a U of M spokesperson said.

vaccine, covid

Twin Cities police investigating COVID vaccine thefts in viral videos

Videos of both incidents were recorded and shared online.

Guthrie theater

Guthrie to reopen to the public in July, shows resume this fall

The theater has been closed to the public for more than a year.

Target - good and gather plant based

Target is launching more than 30 new plant-based grocery products

All are part of the company's hit Good & Gather brand.

Roller Garden

Roller Garden to auction off skates, signs, arcade games and more

Many items from the beloved Roller Garden will be up for auction next month.

joseph ness booking photo

Charges: Chanhassen man fired hundreds of rounds, killing his sister

Six rifles, including AR-15 and AK-47 variants, were found inside the home.

police lights

Woman robbed and assaulted at gunpoint in Waite Park, police say

The incident occurred on Sunday at around 11:30 p.m.

pixabay - marijuana cannabis

Marijuana legalization: Minnesota House to vote Thursday

The "historic" vote on the House floor is set for Thursday afternoon.

Alicia Hinze

St. Paul brunch favorite The Buttered Tin to open Minneapolis location

Alicia Hinze's breakfast spot and bakery is heading to Northeast.


Source: President Obama returning to Minnesota

The details of Obama's trip are still being worked out, but he's expected to visit the battleground state on June 1. Obama was in Minnesota last summer when his Midwest bus tour made a stop in Cannon Falls.