Excerpts from the address
Tonight for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over. Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, fewer than 15,000 remain. … America, for all that we've endured, for all the grit and hard work required to come back … know this: The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.
In the darkest months of the crisis … I promised we would rebuild our economy on a new foundation. And it's been your effort and resilience that made it possible for our country to emerge stronger. … We believed we could reverse the tide of outsourcing, and draw new jobs to our shores. And over the past five years, our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs.
I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college to zero. Forty percent of our college students choose community college. Some are young and starting out. Some are older and looking for a better job. Some are veterans and single parents. … Whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy.
Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy [Islamic extremists]. We're also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria … and assisting people everywhere who stand up to [extremism]. … This effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed.
I'm asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers. … Look, I'm the first one to admit that past trade deals haven't always lived up to the hype, and that's why we've gone after countries that break the rules at our expense. But 95 percent of the world's customers live outside our borders, and we can't close ourselves off from those opportunities.
No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. … If we don't act, we'll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable.