Updated 02/13/2013 09:36 AM
Washington Beat: Obama Addresses Economy, Education, Gun Control In State Of The Union
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In a wide-ranging State of the Union Address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama called for action on the economy, gun control and America's troops overseas.
The president said while corporate profits are rising, the country is not doing enough to help the millions of Americans still searching for full-time work.
He called for more investment in research, incentives for companies that hire unemployed workers, and a hike in the minimum wage.
The president also announced that by this time next year, 34,000 troops now in Afghanistan will be home, and that the war will be nearly over by the end of next year.
He also said that Congress owes it to the victims of gun violence to make a decision on gun control legislation.
"Gabby Giffords deserves a vote," he said. "The families of Newton deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence, they deserve a simple vote."
The president asked Congress to send him a comprehensive immigration bill establishing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
In addition, he called for strong action on climate change.
Rubio's GOP Response Focuses On Economy
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who gave the official Republican response to the state of the union, focused much of his remarks on the economy, saying that the president's policies will not help the Americans who need it the most.
"Mr. President, I don't oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich," Rubio said. "I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors, hard-working middle-class Americans who don't need us to come up with a plan to grow the government. They need a plan to grow the middle class."
The much-rumored presidential candidate for 2016 also delivered his response in Spanish.
Heroic NYU Langone Nurse Acknowledged By President During Address
Among the people acknowledged during President Obama's speech was a nurse from New York University's Langone Medical Center.
Menchu de Luna Sanchez attended the State of the Union as a guest of the First Lady.
She helped save 20 babies during Hurricane Sandy who were in the Intensive Care Unit when the power went out.
"She wasn't thinking about how her own home was faring. Her mind was on the 20 precious newborns in her care and the rescue plan she devised that kept them all safe," President Obama said.
Sanchez organized the operation that got the infants out of the hospital, pulling together nurses and doctors to carry them down eight flights of stairs with only cellphones lighting the way.