7 best lines from President Obama’s final State of the Union

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

President Obama touched on a wide array of topics during his final State of the Union address tonight, both looking back at his two terms in office and turning his attention to the future.

Here are a selection of some of the most memorable lines in his speech.

1. “For this final one, I’m going to try to make it shorter. I know some of you are antsy to get back to Iowa.”

Obama kicked the speech off with a nod towards the horse race going on in the early primary states.

2. “Of course, a great education isn’t all we need in this new economy. We also need benefits and protections that provide a basic measure of security. After all, it’s not much of a stretch to say that some of the only people in America who are going to work the same job, in the same place, with a health and retirement package, for 30 years, are sitting in this chamber.”

There was some ooh-ing and aah-ing at the slight dig that the President served up to longstanding Representatives and Senators.

3. “Now, I’m guessing we won’t agree on health care anytime soon. A little applause right there,” Obama said while pointing up at the gallery. “Just a guess.”

The Affordable Care Act is one of the most polarizing pieces of policy created during the Obama administration.

4. “Food stamp recipients didn’t cause the financial crisis; recklessness on Wall Street did.”

The pool camera recording the speech showed Michelle Obama rise to her feet immediately after her husband said this line. The camera also panned to Sen. Bernie Sanders during Obama’s segment talking about Wall Street reform.

5. “Tonight I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past forty years, I’m putting Joe in charge of Mission Control. For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the families that we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all. What do you say, Joe?”

Vice President Biden appeared shocked at the new assignment, but smiled and accepted the challenge.

6. “I told you earlier all the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. It’s not even close. It’s not even close. It’s not even close.”

In the early copy of the remarks released ahead of delivery, the President was only slated to say the last line once, rather than four times.

7. “That’s the America I know. That’s the country we love. Clear-eyed. Big-hearted. Optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

The president channeled “Friday Night Lights” in his closing moment. He got a big round of applause, just like the ones Coach Taylor would expect after a Panthers win.

Full text of the 2016 State of the Union
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