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State of the Union: Obama Slams Republicans; Calls for Minimum Wage Raise, Action on Climate Change, Immigration Reform and Gun Control

In a speech that laid out a sweeping investment agenda, the president also chided Republicans for taking U.S. from 'one manufactured crisis to the next.'

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Among those lost, he said, was Hadiya Pendleton, and after describing her, he recognized her parents. "They deserve a vote," he said, repeating the sentence for its poetic effect.

"Gabby Giffords deserves a vote," he continued, speaking of the former Arizona congresswoman who is still recovering from a gunshot to the head she sustained during a massacre two years ago.

"The families of Newtown deserve a vote," he said, and went on to name towns made famous by violent tragedies. "The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence, they deserve a simple vote."

Not only was Obama's plea for gun control profoundly moving, it read as a stinging rebuke of the Republicans who continue to stand with the National Rifle Association and against gun regulation of virtually any kind.


Every American Deserves a Vote

Before he left the podium, Obama also recognized Desiline Victor, and elderly woman from Florida, and veteran of that state's war on the votes of people inclined to vote Democrat. "When Desiline arrived at her polling place, she was told the wait to vote might be six hours," Obama said. "And as time ticked by, her concern was not with her tired body or aching feet, but whether folks like her would get to have their say. And hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line in support of her, because Desiline is 102 years old."

The president was not entrusting Congress to fix that problem, however. He's appointed a "nonpartisan commission," he said, to arrive at some recommendations, a commission to be led by the "top attorneys" of his and Mitt Romney's presidential campaigns.

"We can fix this," Obama said. "And we will."

Adele M. Stan is a journalist based in Washington, D.C., who specializes in covering the intersection of religion and politics. She is RH Reality Check's senior Washington correspondent.

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