Recap: State of the Union address
by Kellen Moore
The president outlined several goals in the speech, including increasing the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour, passing gun control legislation, accelerating the removal of troops from Afghanistan and reducing the national deficit while creating jobs.
North Carolina got a brief mention in the 6,419-word speech, as Obama explained a proposal for improving and upgrading infrastructure such as bridges and roads.
"The CEO of Siemens America — a company that brought hundreds of new jobs to North Carolina — has said that if we upgrade our infrastructure, they'll bring even more jobs," Obama said. "And I know that you want these job-creating projects in your districts. I've seen you all at the ribbon-cuttings."
The comment drew laughter from some attendees — even a smile from House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican who just hours before the address said Obama didn't have the "guts" to address the nation's deficit.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida delivered the Republican party's response to the State of the Union address, arguing that contrary to the president's statements, Obama intended to expand the federal government's presence in individuals' lives.
"More government isn’t going to help you get ahead. It’s going to hold you back,” Rubio said. “More government isn’t going to create more opportunities. It’s going to limit them."
In keeping with tradition, Energy Secretary Steven Chu was absent from the State of the Union address to preserve the government in case of a catastrophe during the event.
Obama is expected to visit Asheville today, stopping at at Linamar Corporation to "discuss proposals, unveiled in the speech, that focus on strengthening the economy for the middle class and those striving to get there," according to a news release.
His remarks will be closed to the public, according to the White House.
Linamar Corporation manufactures automotive and industrial parts and has more than 16,700 employees in 12 countries.
On Thursday, Obama will travel to Atlanta, Ga., then to Chicago on Friday.
The president visited Boone in October 2011 en route to Wilkes County as part of his American Jobs Act bus tour, stopping at Mast General Store and meeting with passersby in downtown Boone.
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