UPDATE: 10:55 p.m. EST — Republican presidential candidates weren't impressed by President Barack Obama's call for bipartisanship Tuesday night during his final State of the Union address. Many took to Twitter to slam his vision for the United States:








UPDATE: 10:40 p.m. EST — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was praised for her measured response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night when she spoke about welcoming immigrants regardless of race or religion. In her official Republican address to the nation, Haley highlighted her own experience as the child of Indian immigrants.

“Immigrants have been coming to our shores for generations to live the dream that is America,” she said. “No one should feel unwelcome.”

Still, she added that the United States needed to stop illegal immigration and vet those coming legally to ensure national security. “We must not let in refugees whose intentions cannot be determined,” Haley said.

UPDATE: 10:10 p.m. EST — President Barack Obama ended his roughly hourlong State of the Union Tuesday with a message about the varying voices he hears in the community — "voices that help us see ourselves not first and foremost as black or white or Asian or Latino, not as gay or straight, immigrant or native born; not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans first, bound by a common creed," he said. Obama finished by saying the state of the union was strong. He was met with applause.



Meanwhile, Americans were doing what they do best: Making jokes on Twitter.

UPDATE: 9:59 p.m. EST — President Barack Obama chastised politicians who insult Muslims Tuesday at his final State of the Union speech. While speaking about the need to reject politics that target people due to race or religion, Obama said the world respects the United States because of its diversity.

"When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong," he added. "It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country."

Shortly afterward, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., joined in criticizing Obama on Twitter. 

UPDATE: 9:49 p.m. EST — President Barack Obama got the biggest applause of the night yet Tuesday when he said that the United States was the most powerful nation on Earth. "We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world," Obama said. "No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, both Republican presidential candidates, took to Twitter to rebut Obama's claims.

Elsewhere on the Internet, Twitter users were teasing House Speaker Paul Ryan for looking bored. 

UPDATE: 9:36 p.m. EST — President Barack Obama praised Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday night, putting him in charge of "mission control" for the United States' push to cure cancer. Biden's son, Beau, died of brain cancer last May at 46 years old.

"For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all," Obama said

UPDATE: 9:29 p.m. EST — As he gave his final State of the Union address, President Barack Obama bragged about the economy. He said deficits have been cut while more than 14 million jobs were created. "Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction," Obama said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, sitting behind him Tuesday night, immediately posted a rebuttal on Twitter. Democratic primary front-runner Hillary Clinton did the same.

On other social media accounts, jokes abounded about Obama and the address attendees.

UPDATE: 9:16 p.m. EST — President Barack Obama kicked off Tuesday's State of the Union address with a joke about the upcoming Iowa caucuses, but he got serious fast. Obama said he hoped to tackle issues like gun violence, immigration, paid leave, drug abuse and criminal justice reform.

"America has been through big changes before — wars and depression, the influx of immigrants, workers fighting for a fair deal, and movements to expand civil rights," Obama said, according to prepared remarks. "Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, promising to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control. And each time, we overcame those fears."

UPDATE: 9:09 p.m. EST — As President Barack Obama made his way slowly through the crowd Tuesday at the State of the Union address, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio was fundraising through email. Rubio's campaign sent out a message titled "FLASH POLL" asking supporters to choose whether the State of the Union was crippled, weak, declining, fine or great.

Rubio was in third place among GOP candidates Tuesday.

UPDATE: 9 p.m. EST — One of the seats at President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech was empty Tuesday night in honor of victims of gun violence. Twitter users posted their own messages of recognition with the hashtag #EmptySeat:

ABC News reported the hashtag had been tweeted more than 16,000 times as of Tuesday night.

UPDATE: 8:53 p.m. EST — The White House released the full text of the State of the Union on Medium Tuesday moments before President Barack Obama's speech was scheduled to begin. 

He ends the address by talking about the United States he knows and loves. "Clear-eyed. Big-hearted. Optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word," Obama was due to say. "That’s what makes me so hopeful about our future. Because of you. I believe in you. That’s why I stand here confident that the State of our Union is strong."

UPDATE: 8:50 p.m. EST — The White House told reporters Tuesday night that the designated survivor for President Barack Obama's last State of the Union address was Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. The designated survivor is a Cabinet member who doesn't attend the annual speech in case of disaster, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Original story: 

President Barack Obama was scheduled to give his seventh and final State of the Union address before Congress, invited guests and about 30 million viewers at home Tuesday night. Obama has promised his 2016 speech will be nontraditional, focusing on "not just the remarkable progress we've made, not just what I want to get done in the year ahead, but what we all need to do together in the years to come," according to CBS News.

He'll likely celebrate certain successes that happened under his leadership, including the expansion of health care and the legalization of same-sex marriage, while urging action on hot-button issues like gun violence and terrorism. Throughout it all, Obama will be acutely aware of the upcoming general election.

"Bluntly, Obama needs to try to lift his job approval rating. He's in the low to mid 40s," Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, told NBC News. "In order for a Democrat to win in a two-way race, Obama has to be somewhere around 50 percent at least. That's certainly what modern history tells us."

The United States Constitution mandates only that the president "shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the State of the Union," but the commander-in-chief's annual address has become a big event. This year, first lady Michelle Obama has invited guests like Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff whose case legalized same-sex marriage last year, and Syrian refugee Refaai Hamo. Kim Davis, the county clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue same-sex couples marriage licenses, will attend at the invitation of Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who reportedly gave his guest ticket to the Family Research Council.

Sitting behind Obama himself will be Vice President Joe Biden and newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., who told CNN he may have trouble keeping a straight face during the speech. "I'm sure he'll have a nice glossy rendition of the last seven years," Ryan said. "He never took on this threat of debt. He never proposed to balance the budget. He demagogued us and he never proposed to actually get this debt under control."

After Obama's speech at 9 p.m. EST, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will deliver a Republican response.



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