Obama outlines ambitious agenda in State of the Union

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWBT) - It may be the most important State of the Union of his presidency.

President Barack Obama made the case to the country for an expansion of programs designed to encourage innovation and jobs, while at the same time not adding to the deficit.

The president knew Tuesday night was important. He packed in a long list of second term goals and challenged Congressional Republicans to get on board as a partner, not a rival.

He came to Capitol Hill ready to go to work.

"It is our generation's task, then, to re ignite the true engine of America's economic growth - a rising, thriving middle class," Obama said.

In an almost 20 page speech, Obama confronted some of the nation's biggest challenges.

Like the economy and jobs.

On housing, the president proposed a plan to make it easier to refinance their mortgage.

Obama ran the gamut on education, from pre-k all the way to post graduate school.

On immigration reform, he did not mince words.

"The time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform," he said. "Let's get it done."

He also spent a quite a bit of time on equality, calling for the Violence Against Women Act to be renewed, A pay equality measure to be passed, and a headline: raising the minimum wage to nine dollars.

As expected, he called for more than thirty thousand troops to return home from Afghanistan.

But he closed in a flurry on one of the most divisive issues of the day, gun control.

"We were never sent here to be perfect.  We were sent here to make what difference we can, to secure this nation, expand opportunity, and uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating, but absolutely necessary work of self-government," said the president.

The plan now visible for everyone to see. The next four years of the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, Republicans sent one of their rising stars out to respond to the President. Marco Rubio argued that building the middle class, must start from the ground up, not Washington down.

You can read and watch the entire State of the Union and read the GOP response on DecisionVirginia.com.

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