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Obama tries to reassure Americans in key speech

Obama tries to reassure Americans in key speech
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Congress gave him the traditional warm welcome. But, as Barack Obama delivered his first State of the Union address, it was ordinary Americans he was eager to engage.

After a year in office, his message to those frustrated at high unemployment and sceptical of his handling of the US economy was : I hear you.

“People are out of work. They are hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay,” he said.

While jobs will be the priority in 2010, Obama also vowed to deliver on a campaign pledge this year and withdraw US soldiers from Iraq.

“As we take the fight to al Qaeda, we are responsibly leaving Iraq to its people. As a candidate, I promised that I would end this war, and that is what I am doing as President. We will have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August,” said Obama.

In a pugnacious performance, Obama’s tone was sometimes humourous, sometimes defiant. Despite recent political defeats, his aim was to show his presidency remains on track.