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Summary

  1. US President Barack Obama has given his annual State of the Union speech
  2. His annual address to Congress included plans to raise taxes on the wealthy
  3. But the Republicans, who now control Congress, have voiced opposition to many of his proposals
  4. An official Republican response, delivered by Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, followed Mr Obama's speech
  5. All times in GMT

Live Reporting

By Tom Geoghegan, Taylor Kate Brown and Bernadette McCague

All times stated are UK

Good night

Thank you for joining our live coverage of the 2015 State of the Union. Our coverage will continue on bbc.com/news and on @BBCNewsUS.

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@brianjameswalsh

tweets: The silver lining of the SOTU is that at least once a year President Obama is forced to actually speak with Members of Congress.

Nick Bryant

BBC News, New York

We don't know how many Americans watched tonight, but the longer a presidency goes on the fewer people tend to tune in.

Barack Obama's first speech attracted 52.3 million viewers. Only 33.3 million watched on television last year, according to the Nielsen ratings. Bill Clinton bucked this trend when his 1998 State of the Union attracted more eyeballs, but that was at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

George W Bush saw spikes in the audience in 2002 in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11th and 2003, his famed Axis of Evil speech, when he laid out the case for the invasion of Iraq.

A few photos from the evening...

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015.
Reuters
Sen. Ted Cruz (C) (R-TX) listens as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 20, 2015
Getty Images
U.S. President Barack Obama (C) is applauded while delivering his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015.
Reuters

Rising Republican star Joni Ernst gave her speech with confidence and without a hitch. The BBC's Debbie Siegelbaum has been looking at

why she was picked to give it.

Joni Ernst
BBC

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@amandathe11

tweets: He's the best. #Proud of our President. (Except his admiration for drones) #stateoftheunion #Obama

Anthony Zurcher

Editor, Echo Chambers

There's on thing it seems that both Republicans and Democrats can agree on: the opposition response is a no-win job. "Never agree to do the response ever,"

tweets Gawker's Alex Pareene.

Among the other items on Ms Ernst's wish list -"correcting executive overreach" on immigration, replacing Obamacare, spending cuts, cybersecurity and "confronting Iran's nuclear ambitions".

Pew Research Center tweets: "In a poll last January, share of Americans who identified as middle class

dropped sharply".

Pew graphic
Pew

Barbara Plett, BBC News, Havana

tweets: First time a president has called for lifting the embargo on #Cuba in a #SOTU speech

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@EGSchwartz

tweets: America is desperate for the unity and better politics #Obama just called for - what's it going to take to make Congress listen? #SOTU

Joni Ernst won a Senate seat thanks in part to some very creative television adverts. BBC's Anthony Zurcher looked at a few of them, including one in which

she boasted of a childhood spent castrating hogs.

Ms Ernst refers to her Army service when talking about terror groups - "While deployed overseas with some of America's finest men and women, I've seen just how dangerous these kinds of threats can be."

Andrew Westmoreland, Sirius News

@drewwest_press

Andrew Westmoreland, Sirius News

tweets: #Obama plays politics and doesn't say much about police abuses across #America #SOTU #StateOfTheUnion #Ferguson

Ms Ernst alludes to Mr Obama's threat to veto a bill approving the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, calling it a "jobs bill".

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@kattcrazed

tweets: The President just used the word "transgender", for the first time ever, in his State of the Union address. My oh my.

'I ploughed the fields'

Like many responses, Ms Ernst begins with some of her personal history - "As a young girl, I ploughed the fields of our family farm. I worked construction with my dad. To save for college, I worked the morning biscuit line at Hardees."

Joni Ernst begin the Republican response - "I'd like to have a conversation about the new Republican Congress you just elected, and how we plan to make Washington focus on your concerns again."

"We heard the message you sent in November - loud and clear. And now we're getting to work to change the direction Washington has been taking our country."

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@rainyinwash

tweets: No matter which side you are on, tonight's State of the Union was inspiring. If we really want bipartisan, stop separating - teamwork

Mr Obama is still signing autographs as he heads out of the chamber. We are now waiting on the Republican response from Senator Joni Ernst.

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) acknowledges appalause as he delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, as Vice President Joe Biden (2ndR) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) applaud on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015.
Reuters

@jeneps

Jennifer Epstein, Politico

tweets: Sorry Cody Keenan, but the ad libs were the best parts of this speech.

'Brighter future'

Mr Obama finishes his speech by saying "we too are a strong, tight-knit family. We, too, have made it through some hard times."

"Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America. We've laid a new foundation. A brighter future is ours to write."

Suzanne Kianpour

BBC News, Washington

tweets: "Steny Hoyer keeping #Obama in check... every camera cut to him has him reading what appears to be transcript of speech".

He's now coming to the end of his speech, returning to the theme of unity.

"I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen - man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino and Asian, immigrant and Native American, gay and straight, Americans with mental illness or physical disability."

@EvanMcSan

E McMorris-Santoro, BuzzFeed

tweets: actually kind of interesting that GOP mostly doesn't applaud the same sex marriage line

Gay marriage

"I've seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in ten Americans call home," Mr Obama says. The US Supreme Court will take up that question even more broadly when they rule on whether state marriage bans are constitution. Here's

how the tide turned on same-sex marriage

Liliet Heredero

BBC Mundo, Miami

tweets: "Cubans are watching the #SOTU. Telesur broadcasting live into Cuba."

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@HannahCox7

tweets: Producing more Americans who depend on the government for a hand out will not and never has helped to increase our economy. #SOTU #college

US Congress
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Jim Acosta, CNN

@Acosta

Jim Acosta, CNN

tweets: POTUS on Gitmo: "it's time to finish the job. And I will not relent in my determination to shut it down." (But Congress may not let him)

Mr Obama reiterates his call to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison - something he did in his first State of the Union.

Matt Fuller, Roll Call

@MEPFuller

Matt Fuller, Roll Call

tweets: This is the part when members get fidgety. Kevin McCarthy wipes his brow. Hal Rogers brushes something off his tie. Mica fiddles with collar

On climate change Mr Obama says "I've heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they're not scientists. Well, I'm not a scientist, either. But you know what - I know a lot of really good scientists at Nasa, and NOAA, and at our major universities."

Homecoming

"Welcome home Alan" - Alan Gross's release from a Cuban prison was the subject of intense negotiations between the US and Cuba, a process the Vatican took part in. Mr Gross took lengthy applause when the president mentioned him.

Alan Gross (C), the US contractor released from prison in Cuba last month, is applauded during US President Barack Obama"s State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington on January 20, 2015
Getty Images

John Harwood, CNBC

@JohnJHarwood

John Harwood, CNBC

tweets: lack of applause when Obama calls for new authorization of force against ISIS is reminder that many in Congress do NOT want to vote on one

Referring to the coalition fighting Islamic State, the US president says: "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."

Franz Strasser, BBC News

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BBC

Cuba thaw

What does thawing of relations with Cuba mean without an end to the embargo? We looked at