Obama launches re-election bid

Washington: Facing a tough fight for re-election, President Barack Obama today turned the State of the Union Address into a platform to sketch a vision of US still being a world leader to convince voters to give him a second White House innings.

Unfolding an economic blueprint pledging to build on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values, Obama vowed to take US away from outsourcing, bad debt and phony financial profits, which could be bad news for Indian companies.

Obama in his third State of the Union Address, Obama offered both his administration`s priorities for the coming year and his campaign messaging for his re-election bid in November. He defended a long list of his trademark policies-tax increases on the wealthy, Wall Street reform, health care reform, government stimulus spending and offered proposals of interest to Republicans, like corporate tax breaks and expanded oil and gas development.

"Yes, the world is changing; no, we can`t control every event. But America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs and as long as I am President, I intend to keep it that way," Obama said. He called for increase on tax on the rich, penalising companies indulging in outsourcing and shipping jobs overseas and offering a new potential solution to homeowners who are struggling to refinance their home loans.

In his primetime televised speech which lasted over an hour, the US President targeted the American middle class; one of the worst sufferers of economic downturn. Recalling the success of his administration`s efforts to combat terror, Obama said the momentum of Taliban has been broken and remaining al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan and Pakistan are scrambling to escape from the US` reach.

This decisive blow against these extremist organisations has been mainly because of the focused approach and end of war in Iraq, he said. "Ending the Iraq war has allowed us to strike decisive blows against our enemies. From Pakistan to Yemen, al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can`t escape the reach of the United States of America," he said.

"From this position of strength, we have begun to wind down the war in Afghanistan. 10,000 of our troops have come home. 23,000 more will leave by the end of this summer. "This transition to Afghan lead will continue, and we will build an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, so that it is never again a source of attacks against America," he said in his speech to the US Congress.

Turning his attention to pressing domestic domestic issues, Obama vowed to build an economy that is just from "top to bottom". "We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules," Obama said.

"In 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn`t afford or understand them. Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people`s money. Regulators had looked the other way, or didn`t have the authority to stop the bad behaviour," Obama said.