Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'The state of our union is stronger:' Obama

Announces major pullout of troops from Afghanistan

  • Print

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Barack Obama implored lawmakers and the American public alike to get behind his vision for the nation's future on Tuesday in his fourth state of the union address, emphasizing the progress his administration has made on the economy but urging the country to stay the course.

"Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger," he told a joint session of Congress replete with the pomp and circumstance that is characteristic of the annual state of the union.

But he acknowledged millions of Americans still cannot find work, adding wages and incomes have "barely budged" despite soaring corporate profits.

"It is our generation's task, then, to reignite the true engine of America's economic growth -- a rising, thriving middle class."

Obama's speech focused primarily on the economy and his ongoing efforts to ensure the country's economic recovery isn't a fleeting one. But he also announced he's withdrawing more than half of the remaining American troops in Afghanistan over the next year.

"Over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan," he said. "This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over."

He added the nature of America's commitment in Afghanistan would change in the years to come.

"We are negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counter-terrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al-Qaida and their affiliates," he said.

The Afghanistan announcement puts the White House on track to formally end the 12-year-old conflict by the end of 2014.

Canada withdrew its own combat troops in 2011, though an undisclosed number of Canadian soldiers are still in the country until 2014, helping to train and mentor the Afghan National Army.

The Pentagon has told the White House it wants a small American military presence to remain as well.

Obama's latest state of the union was essentially a followup to the sweeping liberal agenda put forth by the president during his inaugural address three weeks ago.

But this speech put Obama's proposals on the economy and job creation in sharper focus.

He called for more spending on the country's crumbling infrastructure, insisting his proposals won't add to the nation's staggering $16 trillion debt.

"Nothing I'm proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime," he said. "It's not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth."

The president addressed Congress just as a so-called sequestration -- a massive, mandated package of sweeping spending cuts to a host of federal agencies and departments -- is set to kick in on March 1. Some economists are warning a sequestration could push the U.S. into another recession.

Those in the Canadian energy industry were watching closely on Tuesday night to see whether Obama provided more details about his proposals to combat climate change in the wake of his inaugural address, when he pledged action.

He reiterated that pledge on Tuesday.

"For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change," he said as legislators stood and applauded -- as they traditionally do dozens of times during the state of the union.

There was no mention specifically of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.

The U.S. State Department will make a decision on Keystone's latest permit application in the months to come because it crosses an international border.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 13, 2013 A9

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Public finally sees inside the Museum for Human Rights

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Susan and Gary Harrisonwalk their dog Emma on a peaceful foggy morning in Assiniboine Park – Standup photo– November 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Water lilys are reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you support Canada's involvement in the fight against Islamic State?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google