The State of the Union

In a speech to Congress, President Barack Obama sets out his goals for the nation

Jan 26, 2011 | By Nellie Gonzalez Cutler

"The world has changed; the competition for jobs is real," President Barack Obama told Americans in his State of the Union address on January 25. "But the future is ours to win."

The U.S. Constitution requires that the President "from time to time give to the Congress information of the State of the Union." Presidents view the speech as an opportunity to inform and inspire the country. Obama spoke for about one hour. He devoted much of that time to his top priority: making the nation's economy stronger.

President Obama challenged the nation's scientists, engineers and business leaders to develop clean energy, improve the nation's high-speed rail system and highways and create jobs. He called on parents and teachers to give every child the chance to succeed. And, he encouraged kids to become teachers. "We need to out-educate, out-innovate and out-build the rest of the world," he said.

Side by Side

As a gesture that they hope to put aside differences and work together, Democrats and Republicans sat side by side. They normally sit on opposite sides of the aisle. Still, differences exist. Following the President's speech, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, spoke for Republicans.

"We want to work with the President," Ryan said. He also spoke of his party's many disagreements with the President's policies. Ryan called on the government to spend less money.

Can Democrats and Republicans work together? "I believe we can, and I believe we must," said President Obama. "We will move forward together or not at all."