Obama calls for US to 'fix' its politics

US President Barack Obama calls for nation to 'fix' its politics in final State of Union speech

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

US President Barack Obama walks down the colonnade from the Oval Office at The White House in Washington, January 12, 2016.

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged US leaders to "fix our politics" and lift Americans' standard of living in a final State of the Union speech designed to contrast his vision for the country with Republican presidential campaign rhetoric.

Obama, who is delivering his last annual speech to Congress before leaving office next January, said political discourse was meant to be messy, but - in an apparent nod to proposals by Republican candidates such as Donald Trump - required "bonds of trust" between citizens.

"The future we want: opportunity and security for our families; a rising standard of living and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids; all that is within our reach," Obama will say, according to excerpts of his speech released in advance by the White House.

"But it will only happen if we work together. It will only happen if we can have rational, constructive debates. It will only happen if we fix our politics."

Obama's speech is expected to stick to themes he hopes will define his legacy. Although aides said it would not be a "laundry list" of proposals, he is likely to seek support for priorities such as ratifying a Pacific trade pact, advancing tighter gun laws and closing the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He is likely to tout last year's Iran nuclear deal and improved US-Cuba relations as achievements, while addressing the US fight against the DAESH terrorist group, which has generated criticism from Republicans for being too meager.

Obama is eager for a Democrat to win the White House to preserve his legacy, but anger over his policies and fears about security threats have helped push non-traditional candidates to the fore in the Republican and, to a lesser extent, the Democratic races to succeed him.

Trump leads the Republican field and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is giving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tough competition in early voting states for the Democratic primary contest. 

TRTWorld, Reuters