Thank you. The president laid out his second-term agenda. The speech was ambitious on the economy. Dramatic and emotional on the need to end gun violence. Abc's jon karl was in the chamber last night.... See More
Thank you. The president laid out his second-term agenda. The speech was ambitious on the economy. Dramatic and emotional on the need to end gun violence. Abc's jon karl was in the chamber last night. Fellow amecans -- it was 52 minutes into the speech before the president first mentioned guns. Victims of gun violence stood up in the gallery, as the president made his most forceful and emotional argument yet for congress to at least allow a vote on new gun control measures. Gabby giffords deserves a vote. The families of newtown deserve a vote. 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. Reporter: His gun control plan faces a steep uphill climb in congress. But the response shows why the president will continue to push for it. They deserve a vote. Reporter: With a possible government shutdown looming in just over a month, and with deep, automatic spending cuts taking effect in just a couple of weeks, the president warned congress not to go to the brink again. The greatest nation on earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. We can't do it. Reporter: And he made it clear, he will resist efforts to cut medicare. And insists on more tax increases on the wealthy. Why would we choose to make deeper cuts to education and medicare, just to protect special interest tax breaks? How is that fair? Reporter: But perhaps the single biggest announcement on the speech came on afghanistan. The president saying, he will withdraw some 34,000 troops, more than half of all those now deployed, from afghanistan by this time next year. This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in afghanistan will be over. Reporter: Republicans found little to like in the president's speech. Speaker of the house john boehner summed it up by saying that the president offered americans, quote, little more than more of the same stimulus policies that have failed to fix our economy and put americans back to work. And so, george, the political battle lines are drawn.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.