U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on January 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP
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President Barack Obama vowed on Tuesday to bypass a divided Congress and take action on his own to bolster America's middle class in a State of the Union address that he used to try to breathe new life into his second term after a troubled year.Standing in the House of Representatives chamber before lawmakers, Supreme Court justices and VIP guests, Obama declared his independence from Congress by unveiling a series of executive orders and decisions -- moves likely to inflame already tense relations between the Democratic president and Republicans. In a nod to bipartisanship, Obama drew applause with a brief tribute to John Boehner, "the son of a barkeeper" who rose to become speaker of the House of Representatives and the top Republican in Congress.Women voters helped re-elect Obama in 2012 .He renewed an appeal for Congress to give him the authority to speedily negotiate international trade agreements, a proposal held up by Democratic opposition.And on one of his biggest priorities, immigration reform, Obama urged Congress to work together on an overhaul. With three years left in office, Obama is trying to recover from a difficult past year in office, when immigration and gun control legislation failed to advance in Congress and the rollout of the key provisions of his healthcare law stumbled.
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