state of the union address president obama arrives opening statement 02_00005921.jpg
state of the union address president obama arrives opening statement 02_00005921.jpg
Now playing
02:51
Obama opens with Iowa zinger
US President Barack Obama speaks during the State of the Union Address during a Joint Session of Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 12, 2016. Barack Obama will give his final State of the Union address Tuesday, perhaps the last big opportunity of his presidency to sway a national audience and frame the 2016 election race. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB / AFP / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
US President Barack Obama speaks during the State of the Union Address during a Joint Session of Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 12, 2016. Barack Obama will give his final State of the Union address Tuesday, perhaps the last big opportunity of his presidency to sway a national audience and frame the 2016 election race. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:54
Obama's final State of the Union in under two minutes
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 12:  U.S. President Barack Obama gestures as he delivers the State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. In his last State of the Union, President Obama reflected on the past seven years in office and spoke on topics including climate change, gun control, immigration and income inequality.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 12: U.S. President Barack Obama gestures as he delivers the State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. In his last State of the Union, President Obama reflected on the past seven years in office and spoke on topics including climate change, gun control, immigration and income inequality. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:15
Obama slams political rhetoric targeting Muslims
gop rebuttal nikki haley enough blame_00000000.jpg
gop rebuttal nikki haley enough blame_00000000.jpg
Now playing
01:16
Haley: 'There is more than enough blame to go around'
President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)
Evan Vucci/AP
President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)
Now playing
01:29
What does Obama regret about his presidency?
state of the union funny moments 2016 origwx bw _00001117.jpg
state of the union funny moments 2016 origwx bw _00001117.jpg
Now playing
01:28
What really happens during the President's address
state of the union address nikki haley gop response  09_00004730.jpg
state of the union address nikki haley gop response 09_00004730.jpg
Now playing
00:57
Gov. Haley: Obama's record 'falls short of his words'
US President Barack Obama speaks during the State of the Union Address during a Joint Session of Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 12, 2016. Barack Obama will give his final State of the Union address Tuesday, perhaps the last big opportunity of his presidency to sway a national audience and frame the 2016 election race. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB / AFP / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
US President Barack Obama speaks during the State of the Union Address during a Joint Session of Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 12, 2016. Barack Obama will give his final State of the Union address Tuesday, perhaps the last big opportunity of his presidency to sway a national audience and frame the 2016 election race. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:04
Obama: 'It should be easier to vote, not harder'
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 12:  U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledges applause during the State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. In his last State of the Union, President Obama reflected on the past seven years in office and spoke on topics including climate change, gun control, immigration and income inequality. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 12: U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledges applause during the State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. In his last State of the Union, President Obama reflected on the past seven years in office and spoke on topics including climate change, gun control, immigration and income inequality. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:39
'Let's make America the country that cures cancer'
state of the union address congress social security 04_00003126.jpg
CNN
state of the union address congress social security 04_00003126.jpg
Now playing
00:53
Groans follow Obama's social security remark
state of the union address congress social security 04_00003126.jpg
CNN
state of the union address congress social security 04_00003126.jpg
Now playing
00:45
Obama to terrorists: Justice will be done
President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP
President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Now playing
01:46
Obama: System shouldn't be 'rigged' for the wealthy
Now playing
01:09
State of the Union: 69 years in 69 seconds
state of the union address state of the economy 01_00004802.jpg
state of the union address state of the economy 01_00004802.jpg
Now playing
03:16
Obama: Anyone who says economy declining is lying
Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker of Ohio listen as President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker of Ohio listen as President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Now playing
02:09
Hits and misses from Obama's State of the Union speeches
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address on January 20, 2015 in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Pool/Getty Images
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address on January 20, 2015 in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Now playing
02:11
What to watch for in Obama's final State of the Union
The State of the Union Address as a Wes Anderson film
The State of the Union Address as a Wes Anderson film
Now playing
03:51
The State of the Union Address as a Wes Anderson film
SOTU Tapper: State of the Cartoonion: SOTU Skutniks_00005408.jpg
SOTU Tapper: State of the Cartoonion: SOTU Skutniks_00005408.jpg
Now playing
02:00
State of the Cartoonion: State of the Union 'Skutniks'
President Obama's final State of the Union Address. Coverage starts Tuesday night Starting at 7._00001315.jpg
President Obama's final State of the Union Address. Coverage starts Tuesday night Starting at 7._00001315.jpg
Now playing
00:15
President Obama's State of the Union Address Trailer
The Capitol in Washington is seen Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, as the Senate continues to work into the evening on the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
The Capitol in Washington is seen Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, as the Senate continues to work into the evening on the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Now playing
01:37
Four things presidents always talk about during State of the Union
bts obama wrap sotu_00011528.jpg
bts obama wrap sotu_00011528.jpg
Now playing
01:54
Obama seeks unity with Congress during SOTU
Pool
Now playing
02:01
State of the Union Kiss Cam
sot ernst republican response sotu_00012320.jpg
sot ernst republican response sotu_00012320.jpg
Now playing
02:28
Sen. Ernst: A lot we can achieve if we work together
sot obama cuba sotu_00011909.jpg
CNN
sot obama cuba sotu_00011909.jpg
Now playing
01:29
Obama on Cuba policy shift: End legacy of mistrust
bts obama turn the page sotu_00002810.jpg
CNN
bts obama turn the page sotu_00002810.jpg
Now playing
03:05
Obama: 'Tonight we turn the page'

As prepared for delivery

President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:

Tonight marks the eighth year I’ve come here to report on the State of the Union. And for this final one, I’m going to try to make it shorter. I know some of you are antsy to get back to Iowa.

I also understand that because it’s an election season, expectations for what we’ll achieve this year are low. Still, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the constructive approach you and the other leaders took at the end of last year to pass a budget and make tax cuts permanent for working families. So I hope we can work together this year on bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform, and helping people who are battling prescription drug abuse. We just might surprise the cynics again.

But tonight, I want to go easy on the traditional list of proposals for the year ahead. Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty, from helping students learn to write computer code to personalizing medical treatments for patients. And I’ll keep pushing for progress on the work that still needs doing. Fixing a broken immigration system. Protecting our kids from gun violence. Equal pay for equal work, paid leave, raising the minimum wage. All these things still matter to hardworking families; they are still the right thing to do; and I will not let up until they get done.

But for my final address to this chamber, I don’t want to talk just about the next year. I want to focus on the next five years, ten years, and beyond.

I want to focus on our future.

We live in a time of extraordinary change — change that’s reshaping the way we live, the way we work, our planet and our place in the world. It’s change that promises amazing medical breakthroughs, but also economic disruptions that strain working families. It promises education for girls in the most remote villages, but also connects terrorists plotting an ocean away. It’s change that can broaden opportunity, or widen inequality. And whether we like it or not, the pace of this change will only accelerate.

America has been through big changes before — wars and depression, the influx of immigrants, workers fighting for a fair deal, and movements to expand civil rights. Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, promising to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control. And each time, we overcame those fears. We did not, in the words of Lincoln, adhere to the “dogmas of the quiet past.” Instead we thought anew, and acted anew. We made change work for us, always extending America’s promise outward, to the next frontier, to more and more people. And because we did — because we saw opportunity where others saw only peril — we emerged stronger and better than before.

What was true then can be true now. Our unique strengths as a nation — our optimism and work ethic, our spirit of discovery and innovation, our diversity and commitment to the rule of law — these things give us everything we need to ensure prosperity and security for generations to come.

In fact, it’s that spirit that made the progress of these past seven years possible. It’s how we recovered from the worst economic crisis in generations. It’s how we reformed our health care system, and reinvented our energy sector; how we delivered more care and benefits to our troops and veterans, and how we sec