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US-POLITICS-STATE OF THE UNION

Source: SAUL LOEB / Getty

President Barack Obama‘s seventh and final State of the Union summed up all of the things the United States of America could be if he were to be elected for a third term. “The future we want — opportunity and security for our families, a rising standard of living, and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids — all that is within our reach,” he said. Within his last year in office, Obama announced several initiatives that he plans to make his top priority. Here are five things we learned this evening.

Obama Isn’t Here For Terrorist Threats

President Obama wanted the nation to rest assured that regardless of terrorist threats from ISIL, we live within the borders of the safest, most powerful country possible. “If you doubt America’s commitment — or mine — to see that justice is done, ask Osama bin Laden,” Obama said courageously. “Ask the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen, who was taken out last year, or the perpetrator of the Benghazi attacks, who sits in a prison cell. When you come after Americans, we go after you. It may take time, but we have long memories and our reach has no limit.”

He’s Giving Vice President Joe Biden A New Job

Obama said that curing cancer is plausible within our lifetime. Vice President Joe Biden seemed surprised when POTUS designated a new role for him in the middle of his address. “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,” said Obama. The VP appeared to be filled with emotion as he recently lost his son, former Attorney General of Delaware, Beau Biden, to brain cancer. While Biden has said he won’t run for president in 2016, if he were to pursue the Oval Office, he wants to be known as “the President that ended cancer, because it’s possible.”

Obama Shared His Regrets Within His Presidency 

Congress has become increasingly divided throughout Obama’s tenure on issues ranging from the war on terror to health care. And being unable to have the parties come to terms on issues is one of his regrets. “It doesn’t work if we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice, or that our political opponents are unpatriotic,” he began. “It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency —  that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better. There’s no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide, and I guarantee I’ll keep trying to be better so long as I hold this office.”

He’s Adamant About Prison Reform

A wrench in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is having to acknowledge that she and her husband supported the mass incarceration systems that we have in place today. Within the past year, Obama has been championing for prison reform, recently granting 95 commutations and 2 pardons to low-level offenders who committed non-violent crimes. During his speech he said he vows to “shut down the prison at Guantanamo [Bay]” because it’s “expensive, it’s unnecessary, and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies.”

He’s not here for Donald Trump’s antics

Without blatantly naming Trump, Obama took a subtle jab at the Republican frontrunner who made international headlines for suggesting the US should ban Muslim immigration. “We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion.” Obama also said, “When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country.” Trump has since fired back and called Obama’s speech “boring.”

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