President Strives For 'Better Politics' Without Partisan Bickering

President Obama addresses American commitment to justice and civil liberties in his State of the Union speech.
11:01 | 01/21/15

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Transcript for President Strives For 'Better Politics' Without Partisan Bickering
As Americans we respect human dignity. Even when we're threatened. Which is why I have prohibited torture and worked to make sure our use of new technology like bronze is properly constraint. It's why we speak out against the deplorable anti semitism has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It's why we continue. Share our commitment to peace. That's why we defend free speech. Advocating for political prisoners. And condemn the persecution of women. Or religious minorities or people who are lesbian gay bisexual or transgender. We do these things not. As Americans we have a profound commitment to justice. So it makes no sense to spend. Three million dollars per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world condemns and terrorists used to recruit. Since I've been president we've worked responsibly to cut the population of gitmo in head. Now it is time to finish the job and I will not relent in my determination to shut it down it is not who we are. It's on the floor of the moment. As Americans we cherish our civil liberties. And we need to uphold that commitment. If we want maximum cooperation from other countries and industry in our fight against terrorism at its. So while some have moved on from the debates over surveillance programs. I have not. As promised our intelligence agencies have worked hard with the recommendations of privacy advocates. To increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse. The next month will issue a report on how we're keeping our promise to keep our country safe while strengthening process. Looking into the future instead of the past. Making sure we match our power would diplomacy. And use force wisely. Building coalitions to meet new challenges and opportune us. Leading always with the example of our routes. That's what makes this exception. That's what keeps us strong. That's why we have to keep striving to hold ourselves to the highest of standards. Our own. You know you just over a decade ago. He gave a speech in Boston where I said there wasn't a liberal America or conservative America. I'm Black America or white America. But a united states of rumor. I said that's because I've seen it in my own life. In the nation that gave someone like me a chance. Because I grew up in why the melting pot of races and customs. Because I made no more my home. The state a small towns. Rich farmland. When the world's great cities. A microcosm of the country where Democrats Republicans and independents. Good people of every ethnicity and every faith. Share certain bedrock balance. Over the press six years proponents have pointed out more than once. In my presidency hasn't delivered on this vision. How ironic. They say that our politics seems more divided them. It's held up as proof. Not just of my own walls of which there are many. But also as proof that the vision itself business got. My. They're too many people in this town were actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock. For us to ever do anything about. I know how attempting such cynicism may be. I still think the cynics are wrong. I still believe that we are wanting. I still believe that together we can do great things even when the opera. A hello balloon. Does he won't. I've seen the hopeful faces of young graduates from New York to California. Our newest officers of West Point Annapolis. Colorado springs. New London. I've mourned with grieving families and to side. The Newtown. And ball. West Texas. From what's perjured. I've watched Americans beat back adversity from the Gulf Coast to the great plains. From midwest assembly lines to mid Atlantic seaboard. I've seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issues used to drive us apart to a story of freedom. Across our country of civil right now legal. In states that sell them. So. So why all of a glut. Optimistic and big hearted generosity of the American people who every day. Live the idea that we are our brother's keeper and our sisters keep. I know they expect those of us who served here. To set a better example. So the question for those of us here tonight. Is how we all of us. Can better reflect America's votes. I served in congress would many of I know many of you well. A lot of good people here. On both sides react. Many view of told me that. This isn't what you sign up for. Arguing past each other on cable shows. The constant fund raising. Always looking over your shoulder and how the base will react to every decision. Imagine if we broke out of these tire bold patterns. Imagine if we did something different. Understand a better politics isn't one where Democrats abandon their agenda. For Republicans simply embrace mind. Better politics is one where we appeal to each other's basic decency instead of our basis tears. The better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each up. More we talked issues and values and principles and facts. Rather than gotcha moments. Are trivial gas. The fake controversies that have nothing to do with People's Daily lives. We'll pick. Better politics is one where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter. And spend more time lifting young people up with a sense of purpose. And possibility. Asking them to join. In the great mission of building America. If for gonna have arguments let's say of arguments. But let's make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country. We still may not agree on a woman's right to choose but. Surely we can agree it's a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all time lows and that every woman should have access to the health care that she needs. That's passion still fly on immigration. But surely weakens all sees something. Of ourselves in the striving young student. Agree that no one benefits when a hardworking moms snatched from her child. And then it's possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws in the nation of immigrants. I've talked to Republicans and Democrats about that. That's something that we can share. We may go out and campaign season. But surely we can agree that the right to vote this sacred. But it's being denied. We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson. And New York. But. Surely we can understand a father who fears his son can walk home without being harassed. And surely we can understand my wife won't rest until police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of the ship. And shortly we can agree that it's a good thing for the first time in forty years the crime rate and the incarceration rate had come down together. And use that as a starting point for Democrats and Republicans. Community leaders and law enforcement to reform America's criminal justice system so that their protects. That's a better politics. That's how we start rebuilding trust. That's how we move this country full. That's what the American people want. That's what they deserve.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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