Seven years ago, I remember sitting behind President Obama when he delivered his first-ever address before a joint session of Congress.
Our economy was in crisis — on the cusp of depression.
Tonight, I’ll be sitting behind him as he delivers his final one, knowing that our economy is back.
It’s the last time we’ll do this, but we’re not even close to done working. You should make sure you’re watching this speech tonight, and this is the best place to do it.
Seven years later, I couldn’t be more optimistic about America. On virtually every measure, we are better positioned to lead the world in the 21st century.
More made-in-the-USA products are in more markets around the world than ever before. Our businesses have been adding hundreds of thousands of jobs each month — for a record 70 consecutive months. Last year, American automakers sold more cars and trucks than ever before. And millions of Americans know the peace of mind and security of affordable health care.
It’s not because of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
It is, quite simply, because of you. Your hard work. Your grit.
And here’s what I want you to know ahead of tonight’s address: We’re not slowing down.
That’s because, when it comes to making sure every single American has access to real opportunity, our work is never done.
We’ve got to continue to build the most skilled and best-educated workforce in the world.
We’ve got to build the most modern infrastructure in the world — because if America’s manufacturers are going to compete on a global scale, they’ve got to be able to get their products to market quickly and efficiently.
We’ve got to apply our innovation, that uniquely American creativity and ingenuity, to other challenges — like ending cancer as we know it.
We can do that and so much more. And we’re not going to wait for anybody when it comes to taking whatever steps we can to help the middle class and keep our economic resurgence going.
And folks, we have got to keep appealing to our bigger interests and hopes — not our narrow ones and fears, as we’ve seen too frequently in our politics.
We’ve got to stop getting in our own way when it comes to political parties talking past each other. It’s the single biggest impediment to our continued progress.
It makes our conduct of foreign policy more difficult. It makes forging consensus and compromise virtually impossible. And it makes it exponentially harder to restore the basic middle-class bargain.
We used to get along with one another. Sure, we’d fight like hell — but we had more than a modicum of respect for another. I believe that, at our core, the vast majority of Americans share that same belief.
We have to get back to that. And I believe we can.
I’m more optimistic about the prospects of America than when I was as a 29-year-old kid first elected to the United States Senate. And I’ve never been more proud to stand up there with our president and with all of you.
Seven years later, we’re just as fired up and ready to go.
We will finish what we started together.
We will own the finish line.
Make sure you’re watching tonight.