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Reality Check: Looking Back At Obama's 2011 State Of Union Address

Published On: Jan 24 2012 05:51:39 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 24 2012 07:49:06 AM CST

A bitterly divided Congress and upcoming election year could mean a long road for President Barack Obama's plans that he's set to roll out in his third State of the Union address.

WISC-TV looked at what was accomplished since the last speech.

Last year, Obama laid out an ambitious agenda, and WISC-TV found that almost all of it is left undone.

"We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time," said the president in the Jan. 25, 2011, address. "We need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world."

Obama called for long-term goals of a million electric vehicles by 2015 and 80 percent of electricity to come from clean energy by 2035, paying for each by eliminating subsidies to oil companies.

While these goals are long-term, today those subsidies still exist. And although the president proposed some clean energy incentives, Congress approved none of them.

"Now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in, and that is not sustainable," Obama said.

Obama proposed a five-year domestic spending freeze in the State of the Union. House Republicans in a later debt ceiling standoff said that didn't go far enough and the White House had to agree to deeper cuts that the president had said he wouldn't support in his speech.

"I recognize that some in this chamber have already proposed deeper cuts, and I'm willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without," said Obama. "But let's make sure that we're not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens."

The president also proposed tax code changes, which didn't happen, and said he'd address Social Security sustainability and immigration reform, neither of which happened either.

What did he accomplish? In just the last two weeks he followed-through on a promise to reshape government, rolling out a plan to consolidate departments to become more efficient. Congress also passed a promised change to the health care reform law to eliminate some bookkeeping for small businesses.

The address last year mentioned working together six times in the hour-long speech, but with two houses of Congress divided in party leadership, there wasn't much togetherness in 2011. Tuesday's address is largely seen as a way for the president to kick off a campaign year, so expect him to draw more differences between his priorities and Republicans.

The president also gave a major address to Congress in September, touting his jobs plan. Expect to hear more about those initiatives, which haven't taken hold in Congress since that announcement.

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