Barack Obama used his final State of the Union address to call for a new era of political civility. He asked all Americans to engage in political debates in a way that “reflects the goodness and decency and optimism” of America.
Yet in between calls for “a more elevated debate in Washington” came repeated, sharp attacks on his critics.
This began almost immediately, with the president opening his address with a jab at the senators currently seeking to replace him later this year: “I know some of you are antsy to get back to Iowa,” he quipped.
Here are some other examples:
- He said those who speak ill of America’s economy are “peddling fiction.”
- He said “attacks on collective bargaining” are undermining the middle class.
- He said doubting global warming was like doubting the existence of Sputnik after the Russians beat America to space
- He called the notion America’s enemies are strengthening “hot air.”
- He mocked Ted Cruz’s call for “carpet bombing” ISIS as “a TV sound bite.”
- He called efforts to label ISIS “Islamic” are used in “recruitment brochures for our enemies.”
- Supporting Guantanamo Bay feeds “the propaganda [terrorists] use to recruit.”
- He said critiquing Islam “diminishes us in the eyes of the world … it betrays who we are as a country.”
- And in an apparent attack on Donald Trump, Obama said America’s democracy “withers when only the most extreme voices get attention.”
A video collection of these and other highlights can be found here.