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Obama addresses nation with State of the Union speech

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WASHINGTON -

During his speech, the president laid out his plans for bringing troops home from Afghanistan, addressed spending and the national debt, and sounded off on gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

President Obama was poised and ready to tell a joint session of Congress that the US economic recovery is well under way.

"We can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger," the president said.

 It's his first state of the union address of his second term, and the president focused on the middle class and millions of Americans still looking for work.

"It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation of ours," he said.

The president says we don't need bigger government, but rather a smarter government.

Gun laws were also a hot topic. The first lady and members of Congress invited victims of gun violence to join them in the chamber. The president also outlined his plan to bring 34,000 troops home from Afghanistan by this time next year. That's half of the US force there.

"After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home," president Obama said.

He also continued to press for immigration reform and for expanded rights for women, gays and lesbians. Florida Senator, Marco Rubio gave the republican response right after the president's speech. He says the president's second term agenda will bring more tax increases and increase deficit spending. Rubio says republicans are vowing to help the middle class, and he hoped the president would abandon his obsession with raising taxes.

Starting Wednesday the President will take his message on the road, starting in Asheville, N.C. with a campaign style swing to three states.

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