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Key Takeaways From Barack Obama’s Last State of the Union Address

Here are some of the key takeaways from Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.

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US President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union speech offered little in the way of new policy initiatives, but plenty of talk about prospects for a strong future. His hour-long address predicated future gains on bridging the partisan divides so evident between the White House and Republican-controlled Congress, and in the sharp rhetoric flowing from the 2016 presidential campaign.

Here are some highlights from his address:

Political Hot Air

Obama pushed back against Republican critics who sketch a gloomy picture of an America in economic decline and weakened on the world stage.

Here are some of the key takeaways from Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.
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Obama’s Regret

Obama owned up to one regret in an otherwise optimistic address: that average people feel the system is rigged “in favor of the rich or the powerful or some narrow interest.”

He then pledged to keep working on that “so long as I hold this office.”

Here are some of the key takeaways from Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.

Fix Our Politics

He said a future of peace, prosperity and opportunity is only attainable “if we fix our politics.”

Specific problem areas identified by Obama: reducing barriers to voting, limiting the influence of money in politics, ending the drawing of congressional districts to benefit politicians’ interests.

Here are some of the key takeaways from Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.
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2016 Campaign And Snub At Republican Candidates

Obama took indirect swipes at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his bluster on fighting terrorism.

“Our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians. That may work as a TV sound bite, but it doesn’t pass muster on the world stage.”

Here are some of the key takeaways from Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.
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Killers And Fanatics

Obama promised to fight terrorism and ISIS, but dismissed “over-the-top claims that this is World War III.” He also rejected the idea that ISIS threatened “our national existence.”

Here are some of the key takeaways from Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.
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Cancer “Moon-Shot”

Obama likened the administration’s push against cancer to a new “moon shot.” He assigned Vice President Joe Biden to lead a new push to fight cancer, build on a large increase in federal financing for the National Institutes of Health. “Let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.”

Biden’s son, Beau Biden, died of cancer last year.

Here are some of the key takeaways from Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.
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Common Ground

Obama identified a number of areas where Democrats and Republicans might be able to find common ground: pursuing criminal justice reform, promoting trade, fighting opioid abuse. He also made an overture to new House Speaker Paul Ryan by highlighting his interest in fighting poverty.

Here are some of the key takeaways from Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.
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Re-Building Relations With Cuba

Obama said the US set back in Latin America led to restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, opening the door to travel and commerce, and positioned the US to improve the lives of the Cuban people.

Here are some of the key takeaways from Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.
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Obama on Iran

Obama said a patient and disciplined strategy that uses every element of the US’ national power is needed for Iran, to show the world that American will always protect the interest of its people and allies, but will also ensure other countries pull “their own weight” in matters of global concern.

Here are some of the key takeaways from Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.
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Reorienting Foreign Policy

Obama also talked about the need to reorient foreign and security policy beyond the Middle-East, as many other places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks, adding that “others will fall victim to ethnic conflict, or famine, feeding the next wave of refugees.”

Here are some of the key takeaways from Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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