WASHINGTON â€“â€“ Looking to boost the countryâ€™s slow economic recovery â€“â€“ and his own political rebound â€“â€“ President Barack Obama used his State of the Union Address Tuesday night to pitch an agenda that he said will create jobs and to portray himself as a leader above partisanship eager to work with the Republicans who share power.
It was Obamaâ€™s first chance to speak directly to the Republicans who seized control of the House of Representatives and increased their strength in the Senate with a landslide election in November, and he used it to try to frame the coming epic debate over the federal budget, national debt and the economy on his terms.
Speaking to a Congress with a Republican Speaker of the House over his shoulder for the first time, Obama paid heed to the 2010 elections. He insisted, though, that the country didnâ€™t repudiate his Democrats so much as divide power.
â€œWith their votes, the American people determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties,â€ he said. â€œNew laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all â€“â€“ for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.â€
â€œAt stake right now is not who wins the next election _ after all, we just had an election,â€ Obama said in the prepared text of his address.