Feb 13 2013
US president Barack Obama has urged a divided Congress to boost job creation and strengthen the middle class through a package of government-backed proposals.
In his State of the Union address, Mr Obama called for increasing the federal minimum wage, spending more to fix the nation's roads and bridges, and expanding early childhood education.
The president also pledged to cut the number of US troops in Afghanistan in half within a year.
He stressed his proposals would not increase the deficit "by a single dime". But with unemployment persistently high and consumer confidence falling, the president pressed a progressive case for Washington's role in reigniting the economy.