Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • Europe launches navigation satellites to rival GPS

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • Iraqi Sunnis quit govt talks after mosque massacre

    Read more

  • US demands Russia withdraw aid convoy from Ukraine

    Read more

  • Rights group sues US government over ‘deportation mill’

    Read more

  • Colombian army and FARC rebels begin work on ceasefire

    Read more

  • US National Guard starts to pull out of embattled Missouri town

    Read more

  • PSG fall flat once more against Evian

    Read more

  • Fed Chair says US job market still hampered by Great Recession

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu set to be Erdogan's new PM

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Americas

Obama makes jobs top priority in State of the Union speech

Text by Lorena GALLIOT

Latest update : 2010-02-01

US President Barack Obama made fighting unemployment the top priority of his first State of the Union speech. He reiterated his commitment to the controversial health care reform bill, and addressed such issues as transparency in government spending.

 

US President Barack Obama made job creation his government’s top priority for 2010 in his first State of the Union Address. His keynote speech before Congress also aimed to recapture momentum and rekindle public confidence in the presidential agenda at a time of political vulnerability.
 
Although Obama acknowledged some mistakes and admitted the “great difficulties” faced by his fellow citizens at a time of economic hardship, his tone remained upbeat, and at times defiant, as he defended his government’s record and reeled off a raft of plans for his next years in office.
 
"Jobs must be our number one focus in 2010," Obama said, and promised to redirect 30 billion dollars from a Wall Street bailout fund to help small businesses get credit and create new positions.
 
Tough talk
 
His message to Congress was unequivocal. He called on lawmakers to pass a jobs bill and to send it back to his desk "without delay". He also added a further warning: If lawmakers tried to water down bid to crack down on Wall Street he would veto the bill.
 
“I will send back any bill that is not serious on financial reform. We have got to get this right”, he said.  
 
There was praise for Obama from some quarters.
 
“Obama deserves credit for focusing on the economy, reminding people that he has cut taxes, and making concrete proposals to create jobs”, Darell West, director of Governance studies at the (left leaning)Brookings Institution told FRANCE 24.com.
 
“The President’s biggest problem during his first year was that he failed to create a narrative that knits together his various initiatives into a coherent whole.” West added.
 
Obama defiantly vowed that he would not "walk away" from his stalled effort to pass comprehensive health care reform.
 
"By the time I'm finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance. I will not walk away from these Americans. And neither should the people in this chamber," he told Congress.
 
The “I do not quit” theme
 
Obama’s maiden address was also peppered with optimism and resolve.
 
“I have never been more hopeful about America’s future than I am tonight.” declared a determined Obama. His opening “We do not give up” echoed the steely “I do not quit” at the end of his address, in a thinly veiled challenge to his Washington opponents.
 
West at the Brookings Institution, feels Obama gave a good account of himself.
 
“I giv e Obama’s speech a B+ for putting facts on the table, rebutting false criticisms, and explaining what he thinks the country needs to do”, he said.
 
His speech will calm Democratic nerves, give Republicans some pause in opposing everything he proposes, and get Independents to take another look at his ideas”, West added. 
 
Indeed, Obama delivered a candid assessment of his own performance.
 
“I campaigned on a promise of change […] and “change has not come fast enough”, he stated bluntly, saying he understood the feeling of disappointment some Americans are feeling.
 

 

Date created : 2010-01-28

  • USA

    Accomplishments, setbacks and stalemates: Obama’s first year in review

    Read more

  • USA

    Obama address aims to recast agenda, recapture momentum

    Read more

COMMENT(S)