Obama Strikes Optimistic Tone in Speech

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CBNNews.com - WASHINGTON - In a position to command the attention of Congress, President Barack Obama used his first address to talk directly to the American people.

To restore the nation's long-term strength, Obama says America must end its addiction to foreign oil, slash the cost of health care, confront failing schools and put a dent in the national debt.

Click the player to watch the report from CBN News Washington Correspondent Jennifer Wishon followed by Pat Roberton's interview with CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody on the President's speech.

He proposes placing a market cap on carbon emissions and asked every American to commit to attending at least one year of higher education or career training.

"We are creating a new lending fund that represents the largest effort ever to help provide auto loans, college loans, and small business loans to the consumers and entrepreneurs who keep this economy running," Obama said.

GOP Reaction

A man who's considering challenging the President in 2012 answered Obama's speech for Republicans.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says those who witnessed the government's response to Hurricane Katrina have doubts about the feds ability rescue Americans from economic disaster.

"The way to lead is not to raise taxes and put more money and power in the hands of Washington politicians," Jindal said. "The way to lead is by empowering you - the American people."

Obama says Americans who make $250,000 or less won't be affected by tax increases.

He says he's already found $2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years.

Thursday, the President makes more news as he releases his first federal budget.  A spending plan he says will include a historic commitment to healthcare reform.

"Probably one of the biggest crises affecting our nation right now is healthcare," Rep. Robert Aderholdt, R-Ala., said. "And it's only going to grow worse."

A Shared Goal

President Obama says he knows Democrats and Republicans won't agree, but knows everyone in his immediate audience wants the country to succeed. 

"I know that we haven't agreed on every issue thus far, and there are surely times in the future when we will part ways," Obama said. "But I also know that every American who is sitting here tonight loves this country and wants it to succeed."

It's a shared goal that Republicans and Democrats applaud.

"I think that he understands, like the American people do that Washington is broken and we need to fix government, make sure it works for people again, bring it into the 21st century," House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia said.

"I think he gave Americans a sense of confidence," Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said.

"You know, there's no substitute in America to having the President of the United States standing up in the well of the Congress and remind us that we're Americans and we'll get through this," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said.

The sooner... the better.

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Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News Washington Correspondent

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