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Live Blog: President Obama Delivers 2015 State Of The Union Address

President Obama met with four Americans who wrote letters to the White House on Tuesday, ahead of his State of the Union address.
Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool
President Obama met with four Americans who wrote letters to the White House on Tuesday, ahead of his State of the Union address.

When he lays out a list of national priorities in his sixth State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama will face a Congress that's now controlled by his Republican opponents.

An early excerpt of the speech released by the White House shows the president hopes to draw a line under America's first 15 years of the 21st century and set new priorities for the future.

From Obama's speech:

"We are fifteen years into this new century. Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world. It has been, and still is, a hard time for many. "But tonight, we turn the page."

You can watch the State of the Union address live at 9 p.m. ET on this post, via PBS; we'll also stream live audio of NPR's special coverage. We'll update this page with news from the event.

The speech will center on tax proposals that would boost middle class workers while requiring more from banks and America's rich. Immigration, health care, and conflicts with terrorist groups will also be key points.

Obama will also mention the hacking attacks that have hit Sony and other U.S. companies, in a portion of the speech that pushes for new legislation regarding cyber security and privacy.

The Republican rebuttal will be delivered by Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, who arrived in Washington this month as a part of her party's takeover of the Senate.

"We heard the message you sent in November — loud and clear," Ernst says in an excerpt of the speech released Tuesday. "And now we're getting to work to change the direction Washington has been taking our country."

In her speech, Ernst will also discuss taxes, saying that it's time to "simplify America's outdated and loophole-ridden tax code."

As Obama begins his seventh year, NPR's Ron Elving notes that he's in the same position every other two-term president since the 1950s has found themselves: "facing a Congress where both the House and Senate are in the hands of the opposition party."

Earlier today, the White House threatened to veto two House bills if they were to make it to the Oval Office: One would ease approval of natural gas pipeline projects, while the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would introduce new limits on abortion.

Here are more excerpts from President Obama's State of the Union speech:

"At this moment – with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production – we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. It's now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come.

"Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?"

"So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don't get in the way."

"In fact, at every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances, and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot. We set up worker protections, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to protect ourselves from the harshest adversity. We gave our citizens schools and colleges, infrastructure and the internet – tools they needed to go as far as their effort will take them.

"That's what middle-class economics is – the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules."

"I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership. We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don't let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents. That's exactly what we're doing right now – and around the globe, it is making a difference."

"In Iraq and Syria, American leadership – including our military power – is stopping ISIL's advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. We're also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism. This effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed. And tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL."

"No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children's information. If we don't act, we'll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable. If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe."

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