Energy, healthcare, education: the new Big Three
When he introduces his budget in the next couple of days, says President Obama, he will focus on three things: energy, healthcare and education. This is what he promised when he ran for president and these are his priorities. He is asking Congress to help him achieve three important goals:
Doubling the supply of clean, renewable energy: "I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk way from it.... None of this will come without cost, nor will it be easy. But his is A-mer-ica [that's how he said it, accenting the second syllable]. We don't do what's easy, we do what's necessary to move the country forward."
Reforming healthcare: "We can no longer put healthcare reform on hold. It's time."
When the camera shows the whole chamber, one can see an example of what President Clinton called the "see-saw effect." The Democratic side of the chamber stands to applaud, while the Republican side mostly stays seated. Not always, of course.
When Obama says "healthcare reform cannot wait, it must not wait, it will not wait another year," it appears that many Republicans also stand to applaud.
And, finally, he touches on the third big point: "...the urgent need to expand the promise of education in America."
Dropping out of high school he says, is virtually unpatriotic. "It's not just quitting on yourself," he says, "it's quitting on your country."
He asks that every American commit to "at least one year or more of higher education or career training."
And by 2020, he vows, "America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world."
-- Robin Abcarian
President Barack Obama addresses a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber of the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)