Against Steep Spending Cuts
President Obama launched into his second term with a sharply worded inaugural address Monday -- using the platform to "reject" steep cuts to entitlements, press for an immigration reform package and wag the finger at Washington's penchant for "name-calling" and "spectacle."
The 20-minute address, delivered to a packed crowd on the National Mall after he took the oath of office, effectively set the tone for the next four years. After a rocky four years marked by bitter battles between the White House and Republicans in Congress, Obama made clear he would continue to press those lawmakers to move toward him on some of the toughest policy questions ahead.
The president quickly toggled through a host of agenda items, but used some of his most forceful language to defend costly entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that could be the target of cuts in upcoming fiscal talks.
Declaring that the country cannot succeed "when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it," he described those programs as a vital safety net -- though, without some intervention, budget forecasters warn they will not be sustainable in the long term.
"We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future," Obama said. "The commitments we make to each other -- through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security -- these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great."
While setting his terms for looming budget fights, the president also worked in a call for immigration reform.
"Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country," he said.
Further outlining his goals for a second term, he said the administration would "respond to the threat of climate change."
The president, in closing, appeared to chide the minority party, saying: "We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate."
At the same time, he urged the country to set aside differences and work together toward addressing challenges ranging from the country's tax code to its education system.
"Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people," Obama said, on the west front of the Capitol. "My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it -- so long as we seize it together."
Obama, over the course of the speech, appeared to offer a series of assurances to his supporters that he would continue to fight for the issues he campaigned on. However, while Obama was buoyed by his decisive win over Mitt Romney in November, he nevertheless enters the second term facing a packed agenda and a divided Congress he'll have to win over if he wants to get it passed.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 01/21/2013
Editor's Note: So, while Mr. Obama calls his oposition a gaggle of "name callers" with a penchant for the "spectacular," he then says we have to work together...this guy is a real piece of work!
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