State of the Union: Obama pledges to reignite economy

Key points

  • President Barack Obama delivered the annual State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress and a television audience of millions
  • With millions of Americans still out of work, the speech focused on the economy and thorny issues such as immigration and gun control
  • Senator Marco Rubio delivered the Republican party response followed by a Tea Party riposte from Senator Rand Paul. All times EST (GMT -5)

Live text


  • Pia Gadkari 
  • Jude Sheerin 

Last updated 13 February 2013


Hello and welcome to the BBC's live coverage of US President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, in which he is expected to set out his second-term agenda. We'll follow the speech, including all the reaction, and bring you insights from our correspondents as well as tweets, emails and the best of the blogs.


Obama will address a joint session of Congress, watched by millions of television viewers. White House officials have said ahead of the speech that the president will talk about his plans to revive the sluggish US economy, and also touch on hot-button issues such as immigration and gun control.


Obama administration officials say tonight's address is the second act in a single play - the curtain-raiser was his inaugural address on 21 January. In that speech, Obama set out an ambitious legislative agenda and sought to link liberal ideas with America's founding values.


After Obama's finished, Florida Senator Marco Rubio will deliver the Republican party's rebuttal. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will then give a "Tea Party" riposte to Obama's speech, underscoring conservative divisions.


If you're keen to keep up with Republican reaction to the speech as it is delivered, House Republicans launched a website today on the party's response. The Republican National Committee is also using the hashtag #NotSerious for those following on Twitter. In our tweets, we'll be using #SOTU.


The BBC's Suzanne Kianpour tweets: Members of Congress are starting to make their way into the chamber ahead of the #SOTU. So far have spotted Sens Leahy & Flake @bbcnewsus


So, who else is in attendance tonight? Sitting in First Lady Michelle Obama's box will be Alan Aleman, a "Dreamer" who's become something of a poster child for immigration reform. He will rub shoulders with Apple chief executive Tim Cook.


President Obama has just left the White House. He's making the short drive down Pennsylvania Avenue to the US Capitol, ready to make his address in just under 30 minutes.


Michelle Obama is making her way over too, although she's travelling there in a separate car. Tonight, she's in a deep red knee-length jacket.


Kaitlin Roig, a teacher from Sandy Hook elementary school where 26 people were massacred in December, and Jack Andraka, a teenager who invented a pancreatic cancer test, and who recently spoke to the BBC, will also watch from the first lady's box.