Obama: U.S. Must Reclaim Values of Fairness for All

Washington, D.C. (AP) - President Barack Obama says America is at a defining moment - deciding whether it will settle for being a nation where many people barely get by or one where everybody gets a fair shot at success.

In excerpts of his State of the Union address, Obama says the country must reclaim its place as a land of opportunities for people who do their fair share and follow the same rules.

He says those "are not Democratic values or Republican values but American values."

The White House released excerpts ahead of Obama's speech at 9 p.m. EST. His address will center on his ideas for a sound economic recovery.

Obama will pledge to work with Republican lawmakers, but he will also warn he intends to "fight obstruction with action."

President Barack Obama is promising the nation an economy that gives a shot to everyone and not just the rich, using Tuesday night's State of the Union address to draw an election-year battle line with Republicans over fairness and the free market. Driving everything about the speech: jobs, including his own.

Overshadowed for weeks by the fierce race of the Republicans seeking his job, for one night Obama had a grand stage to himself.

He planned to pitch his plans to a bitterly divided Congress and to a country underwhelmed by his handling of the economy. Targeting anxiety about a slumping middle class, Obama was calling for the rich to pay more in taxes. Every proposal was to be underlined by the idea that hard work and responsibility still count.

Tens of millions of people were expected to watch on television, turning an always-political speech into Obama's best chance yet to sell his vision for another four years.

For an incumbent on the attack about income inequality, the timing could not be better.

Ahead of Obama's 9 p.m. EST speech, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney released his tax returns under political pressure, revealing that he earned nearly $22 million in 2010 and paid an effective tax rate of about 14 percent. That's a lesser rate than many Americans pay because of how investment income is taxed in the United States.

Obama, though, has his own considerable messaging challenges three years into his term.

The economy is improving, but unemployment still stands at the high rate of 8.5 percent. More than 13 million people are out of work. Government debt stands at $15.2 trillion, a record, and up from $10.6 trillion when he took office. Most Americans think the country is on the wrong track.

Obama's relations with Republicans in Congress are poor, casting huge doubt on any of his major ideas for the rest of this year. Republicans control the House and have the votes to stall matters in the Senate, although Obama has tried to take the offensive since a big jobs speech in September and a slew of executive actions ever since.

"It's hard not to feel a sense of disappointment even before tonight's speech is delivered," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "The goal isn't to conquer the nation's problems. It's to conquer Republicans. The goal isn't to prevent gridlock, but to guarantee it."

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has called the themes of Obama's speech a "pathetic" rehash of unhelpful policies.

The State of the Union remains one of the most closely watched moments in American politics. Despite the political atmosphere in Washington, the scene is expected to have at least one unifying touch. Outgoing Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt a year ago, is expected to attend with her colleagues. Her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, was attending as a guest of first lady Michelle Obama.

Obama's tone was under as much scrutiny as his proposals.

He was aiming to find all the right balances: offering outreach to Republicans while sharpening his competing vision, outlining re-election themes without overtly campaigning and pledging to work with Congress even as he presses a campaign to act without it.

The context was set not just by the re-election year, but by the awful past year of partisan breakdowns in Washington. The government neared both a shutdown and, even worse, a default on its obligations for the first time in history.

Less than 10 months before Election Day, the presidential race is shaping up as a contest between unmistakably different views of the economy and the role of government.

Obama is campaigning on the idea of helping people at least get a fair shot at a job, a house, a career and a better life. Republicans say he and his philosophy have become a crushing burden on free enterprise and that the president is resorting to what amounts to class warfare to get elected again.

Obama's speech was to feature manufacturing, clean energy, education and American values. He was to unveil new proposals to address the housing crisis that has left many people trapped, and he planned to promote steps to make college education more affordable.

The president was planning a traditional rundown on the state of American security and foreign policy - and a reminder that he kept a promise to end the Iraq war.

But his driving focus was to secure faith in the economic recovery and in voters' confidence that he is getting the country on the right path.

Obama planned to renew his call for his "Buffet Rule" - a principle that millionaires should not pay a lower tax rate than typical workers. While middle-income filers fall in the 15 or 25 percent bracket, and millionaires face a 35 percent tax bracket, those who get their income from investments - not a paycheck - pay 15 percent.

The president named his idea after billionaire Warren Buffet, who says it is unfair that his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does. The White House invited Buffett's secretary, Debbie Bosanek, to attend the State of the Union as a special guest.

Obama was to outline a tax system "where everybody is paying their fair share," said senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

And then for three days following his speech, Obama will promote his ideas in five states key to his re-election bid. On Wednesday he'll visit Iowa and Arizona to promote ideas to boost American manufacturing; on Thursday in Nevada and Colorado he'll discuss energy, and in Michigan on Friday he'll talk about college affordability, education and training.

Polling shows Americans are divided about Obama's overall job performance but unsatisfied with his handling of the economy.

The speech Tuesday night comes just one week before the Florida Republican primary that could help set the trajectory for the rest of the race.

Romney, caught up in a tight contest with a resurgent Newt Gingrich, commented in advance to Obama's speech.

"Tonight will mark another chapter in the misguided policies of the last three years - and the failed leadership of one man," Romney said from Florida.


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  • by Gerry Location: Tallahassee on Jan 31, 2012 at 06:10 AM
    Gosh no, I don't think I'm wrong. Total national debt on 1/20/01 = $5.728 trillion. On 1/20/09 = $10.627 trillion. On 1/27/12 = $15.236 trillion. Increase in total national debt during Bush's Presidency = $4.899 trillion. During Obama's Presidency = $4.609 trillion. Source: treasurydirect.
  • by Able on Jan 27, 2012 at 05:56 PM
    Gerry you DUMMY! CNS News.com - October 5, 2011 As of close of business on Oct. 3rd, the total national debt was 14,837,099,271,196.71, up 44.8 billion from Sept. 30th. That means that in less than the 3 years Obama has been in office the federal debt has increased 4.212 trillion - more than the total national debt of about 4.1672 trillion accumulated by ALL 41 US presidents from George Washington through George W. Bush combined !!
    • reply
      by Scott on Jan 27, 2012 at 08:29 PM in reply to Able
      I looked it up! Ables right,gerry is wrong!Those are fed figures!
      • reply
        by Susan on Jan 28, 2012 at 04:18 PM in reply to Scott
        Gerry, Able is correct!Your king is setting probably unbreakable debt records!In only three years!He ruined the USA!Where did you go to school gerry?School of the blind?
    • reply
      by Gerry on Jan 28, 2012 at 05:57 AM in reply to Able
      One reason you're so poorly informed is that you can't figure out what is a credible source. CNS? You must be kidding. Try the US Treasury's website at treasurydirect. Does anybody else besides CNS say the total national debt has increased more under Obama than under George W. Bush? Bush became Prez on 1/20/01, Obama on 1/20/09. Even through Thursday, 1/26/12, the total national debt has increased less under Obama than under Bush. I agree the total national debt was $14.837 trillion on 10/3/11.
      • reply
        by Able on Jan 28, 2012 at 04:13 PM in reply to Gerry
        Hard to admit your wrong isn't it braniac.There are numerous sources confirming it.You luv to admire yourself don't you dummy!Your a obama buttock kisser!Obama is the worst pres in history!
        • reply
          by Gerry on Jan 28, 2012 at 08:59 PM in reply to Able
          You're just plain stupid. If there were sources confirming it, you would name them.
        • reply
          by Gerry on Jan 28, 2012 at 09:03 PM in reply to Able
          Oh yes. Even as supernaturally stupid as you are, you must realize that CNS, CBS, the New York Times, and everybody else must get the information from somewhere. Where would that be? It would be the government. So what does the government say?
        • reply
          by Gerry on Jan 29, 2012 at 06:45 AM in reply to Able
          You can't possibly believe that CNN or ABC has somebody with a calculator or pencil and paper keeping track of every dollar the gov spends and receives. They rely on the US Treasury. They use the US Treasury for their info. What does Treasury say? Learn to use treasurydirect to find out the total debt for any day in recent history.
      • reply
        by gerry on Jan 28, 2012 at 04:58 PM in reply to Gerry
        Thats a good joke gerry!So you think only news from abc,cbs,cnn gay news channel or maybe bill the atheist comedian is your news source!All are liberals who support obama!CNS is credible, same with Fox news!You have a hitler mentality gerry!Your a regular Alan Colmes!
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jan 30, 2012 at 03:21 PM in reply to gerry
          Wrong again Gerry. Able is right.
    • reply
      by Gerry on Jan 30, 2012 at 03:12 PM in reply to Able
      I am never wrong. Global Warming is changing the weather as I speak. Obama has fixed the economy. Yield rates are down, unemployment is down, and Obama is the only hope the human race has to survive. Check the climate forecast
      • reply
        by Y on Jan 31, 2012 at 04:16 AM in reply to Gerry
        Your brain is fried!Your wrong gerry colmes!LOL
  • by Georgia Boy Location: Cairo on Jan 27, 2012 at 02:55 AM
    If there is to be "fairness for all" then we need to be fair to the "rich" as well as the poor. The rich already pay a substantial amount of the actual tax dollars the Federal government collects. Far more than their "fair share" considering their numbers. If things are to be fair, then we must make their tax burden equal to that of all other taxpayers--and the nontaxpayers must be brought into the equation. So rather than increasing taxes on the rich, it appears to me to be fair we need to tax those who aren't paying taxes or who are paying less than the rich. And by the way, if you look at the earnings level of individual IRS returns, as reported by the IRS, you will find the rate in the tax table is NOT what is being paid. Due to deductions and credits it is more in line with what Romney paid on his return.
    • reply
      by Gerry on Jan 27, 2012 at 09:34 AM in reply to Georgia Boy
      You are right, 50 percent pay no social security and 50% pay no federal taxes.....how is that fair?
      • reply
        by Gerry on Jan 28, 2012 at 06:00 AM in reply to Gerry
        @Fake Gerry If you're so smart, why don't you get a unique handle and use it consistently and then bring it on. I doubt you are a librul. You are a loser/conservative who likes to spread confusion and disinformation because you can't compete with libruls. Hardy har har. Hardy har har.
  • by Gerry Location: Tallahassee on Jan 26, 2012 at 12:48 PM
    For a long time there was one poster named Gerry. The certain conservatives began a disinformation, misinformation, confusion campaign because they can't make a case for their views and have no credibility. Who doesn't realize this?
    • reply
      by Buffett on Jan 26, 2012 at 05:17 PM in reply to Gerry
      50 % of americans do not pay into social security. we were right again which is why you are trying to divert the topic to the name of poster.
      • reply
        by Gerry on Jan 26, 2012 at 07:38 PM in reply to Buffett
        You don't have to be terribly smart to figure this out, but the 47% of households who don't pay fed income taxes contains quite a few households that pay FICA taxes. Lots of people don't pay FICA taxes because they are under 16 or over 65. Most under 16 or over 65 don't work. I've seen a figure that says 75% of households pay more in FICA taxes than in fed income taxes. Sometimes only one spouse works, so there is at least one person not paying FICA taxes but the household does.
      • reply
        by Gerry on Jan 26, 2012 at 08:37 PM in reply to Buffett
        You're another genius. "Americans" includes those under 16 and those over 65.
        • reply
          by Gerry on Jan 27, 2012 at 09:35 AM in reply to Gerry
          You must have graduated from public high school to figure that our all by yourself......
  • by Gerry on Jan 26, 2012 at 05:41 AM
    When people post anonymously as Gerry what do you expect? Fifty percent of Americans do not pay into social security and fifty percent of Americans pay no federal income taxes and Obama has increased the debt. Facts is facts unless you're liberal
  • by Gerry Location: Tallahassee on Jan 25, 2012 at 08:55 PM
    There is certainly no shortage of stupid people posting about this. 47% of households pay no federal income taxes. I believe this is true. Pretty much everybody pays sales taxes. So saying half of the people don't pay taxes is silly. Even children pay sales taxes. Children don't pay federal taxes. Usually statements about taxes are made about households and not about individuals. I'd say there are darn few households in which nobody pays any federal taxes. If anybody in a household works, the household pays fed income taxes or FICA or both.
    • reply
      by Gerry come on now on Jan 26, 2012 at 08:15 AM in reply to Gerry
      you are getting pretty good at back pedaling to cover yourself. if you want to claim we should have known what you meant then we would expect the same courtesy.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jan 26, 2012 at 12:45 PM in reply to Gerry come on now
        LOL. If you are waiting for any show of courtesy from Gerry, bring a lunch. Bring a big lunch.
        • reply
          by Gerry on Jan 26, 2012 at 02:33 PM in reply to
          Somebody posts anonymously and would like to discuss courtesy! You post anonymously exactly so you will be indistinguishable from the others who post anonymously. Why don't you post as Nightrider?
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jan 26, 2012 at 03:46 PM in reply to
          @ Gerry Thanks for proving my point. Show me where I said I wanted to discuss courtesy. You can't. Why shouldn't I post as anonymous just to satisfy your childish whim? Who is Nightrider? A monster hiding in your closet? An old boyfriend who rejected you? Maybe it's your alter ego in whatever bizarro world you dwell in. Other people are posting as Gerry, not because they are so awed by your omniscience, but because they are mocking you. You're just to brilliant to realize it.
        • reply
          by Gerry on Jan 26, 2012 at 07:32 PM in reply to
          It's impossible to tell if you are same poster as the previous Anonymous. Other posters are posting as Gerry because they are conservatives with no credibility who can't risk posting consistently with a unique identifier. How much credibility does somebody have who posts as Anonymous? Not much.
        • reply
          by Gerry on Jan 26, 2012 at 08:35 PM in reply to
          @ Anonymous 2 If you're so smart, get a unique identifier, use it consistently, and bring it on.
      • reply
        by Gerry on Jan 26, 2012 at 02:30 PM in reply to Gerry come on now
        If you had any credibility, or thought you might acquire some, you probably would be posting with a unique and permanent handle. Point out my mistake to me.
        • reply
          by Gerry on Jan 27, 2012 at 09:35 AM in reply to Gerry
          I post as "Gerry" so I must be credible?????
        • reply
          by Gerry on Jan 28, 2012 at 06:02 AM in reply to Gerry
          @ Fake Gerry You post as Gerry because you are a loser and not smart enough to compete.
  • by GERRY on Jan 25, 2012 at 08:11 AM
    I was wrong again. 50% of all Americans do not pay into social security.
  • by Gerry Location: Tallahassee on Jan 25, 2012 at 07:47 AM
    There are at least 2 people posting with the handle Gerry. 1 Gerry is a librul by Panhandle standards and has posted for months as Gerry. Do you think the 2nd Gerry, who's obviously trying to confuse people, is a librul? Do you think the 2nd Gerry has a lot of credibility on his own posting with some other unique handle? Do you think the 2nd Gerry gets a lot of attention when he posts with his own unique handle?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 26, 2012 at 08:22 AM in reply to Gerry
      Gerry is a very common name and is why people who truly want to be known use a surname. Two people with the same common first name and different views? Wow imagine that
      • reply
        by Gerry on Jan 26, 2012 at 12:54 PM in reply to
        You can post as Barack Obama, or Joe DiMaggio, or Terry Malloy, but that doesn't mean it's your name. If you duplicate my handle it's because you are a conservative and can't make the case for your views and prefer to sow confusion because you can't.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jan 27, 2012 at 09:32 AM in reply to Gerry
          The pot calls the kettle black. THIS is the best you can do FOR your views -- mindlessly complaining about a poster's handle?! Isn't it amazing how "liberals" have the most hate and least tolerance for opposing opinions?
      • reply
        by Gerry on Jan 26, 2012 at 01:12 PM in reply to
        There are or have been posters name Jack, Tom, and Mary. They don't seem to have a problem with anybody duplicating their handles. Gerry seems to be the only one who has dishonest conservatives spreading misinformation, disinformation, and confusion. I wonder why that would be?
  • by Johnny Location: Hwy 20 on Jan 25, 2012 at 04:57 AM
    Obama the snake charmer is at it again PEOPLE BEWARE!!!!!!!!!!
  • by jack Location: Tallahassee on Jan 25, 2012 at 03:53 AM
    Fairness seems to be the new buzzword for politicians. Similar to 'For the Children'. Sounds so great, but it's pathetic for the intentions it's being used for. Having everyone pay their 'fair share' of taxes sound great. But why does fair mean some are paying more than others? The definition of fair seems to be evolving into 'the more you have, the more you owe'.
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