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The nation

Published January 25. 2011 05:03PM

Tonight, President Barack Obama will give the annual State of the Union address. It's one of the most important speeches of the year for any president.

The president will likely try to assure the American people that everything is going great in our nation; that job creation is doing just fine, that economic incentives are working, and that the future for Americans is looking better.

Apparently things were not pleasing enough to American voters last November to retain the same Congress. A year ago, both the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives were controlled by Democrats. Voters in November gave the Republicans the majority in the House.

Regardless of what party is in charge or who will make decisions, lets take note of some of the comments made by President Obama a year ago.

From the State of the Union Address of 2010:

• One in 10 Americans still cannot find work. Many businesses have shuttered. Home values have declined. Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard. And for those who'd already known poverty, life has become that much harder. This recession has also compounded the burdens that America's families have been dealing with for decades the burden of working harder and longer for less; of being unable to save enough to retire or help kids with college.

• So we face big and difficult challenges. And what the American people hope what they deserve is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences; to overcome the numbing weight of our politics. (Ed. note Health Care Reform passed strictly by political vote).

• Now, as we stabilized the financial system, we also took steps to get our economy growing again, save as many jobs as possible, and help Americans who had become unemployed.

• We can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. (Applause.) From the first railroads to the Interstate Highway System, our nation has always been built to compete. There's no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products.

• Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will.

• Now, the price of college tuition is just one of the burdens facing the middle class. That's why last year I asked Vice President Biden to chair a task force on middle-class families. That's why we're nearly doubling the child care tax credit, and making it easier to save for retirement by giving access to every worker a retirement account and expanding the tax credit for those who start a nest egg. That's why we're working to lift the value of a family's single largest investment their home. The steps we took last year to shore up the housing market have allowed millions of Americans to take out new loans and save an average of $1,500 on mortgage payments.

• We have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now. We face a deficit of trust deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap we have to take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; to give our people the government they deserve.

That was 2010. Will the president say anything different tonight?

Will he be able to reassure Americans who are facing their toughest times since the Great Depression?

By Ron Gower

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