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POLITICS: PennAve

Obama's State-of-the-Union Report Card

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President Obama outlined an ambitious slate of proposals during the first State of the Union address of his second term. At a minimum, many of those ideas would receive an “incomplete” grade -- while others would be labeled failures. Most of the president's agenda stalled during a brutally tough year for the White House. However, Obama was able to make headway on a few major items on his to-do list. Here's a look at the progress -- or lack thereof -- on the president's 2013 State of the Union pitches.

'Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.'



The good news for the White House: The unemployment rate fell to 7 percent in November, the lowest figure in five years. Multiple polls also show Americans' confidence in the economy growing. But, Obama's economic ideas, including more infrastructure spending, raising the minimum wage and enacting comprehensive tax reform have gone nowhere on Capitol Hill.

'Leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement and faith communities all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform.'



The president expended major political capital on his self-professed top priority but was unable to push a comprehensive bill through the GOP-controlled House. Political observers are skeptical that such a package will pass before the 2014 midterm elections, but the White House says the lack of progress will hurt Republicans politically.

'For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.'



Obama certainly made a big move on climate change -- it just didn't involve Congress. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed new regulations on future power plants and will do the same for existing facilities next year. Republicans have decried the push as a “war on coal” and executive overreach, but environmentalists roundly cheered Obama's actions.

'The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.'



The Obama administration secured a preliminary deal with Iran that would halt certain parts of its nuclear program in exchange for easing some economic sanctions against Tehran. Obama acknowledges prospects for a long-term deal are “50-50” at best, but skeptical allies fear the accord will fail to stop Iran and lawmakers are weighing another round of sanctions.

'I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence. But this time is different.'



In perhaps the most embarrassing defeat of his second term, the Senate rebuffed Obama's call for tougher gun restrictions following the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. The president's push for expanded background checks, an assault-weapons ban and a prohibition on high-capacity magazines will remain on the back burner for the foreseeable future -- if not the rest of his second term.
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Brian Hughes

White House Correspondent
The Washington Examiner