WASHINGTON (CN) - Eclipsing mention of goals for his last year in office Tuesday, President Barack Obama focused his final State of the Union on the future of the country beyond his presidency.
Confronting new economic conditions and difficult questions of foreign policy, Obama spoke about the need to also properly embrace technology and find harmony in an increasingly discordant political climate.
Obama claimed victories in economic growth, health care and foreign policy, but assured the assembled members of Congress more work is yet to be done.
He mentioned specific policies - such as free two-year community college for students and a new commitment to fighting cancer - but mainly focused on broad goals of aspirations for the country.
An impassioned plea to reform the political system punctuated Obama's speech, as he called for changes to campaign finance and redistricting laws as wells as for an end to partisan bickering.
"The future we want - opportunity and security for our families; a rising standard of living and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids - all that is within our reach," Obama said. "But it will only happen if we work together. It will only happen if we can have rational, constructive debates. It will only happen if we fix our politics."
Obama called the increased "rancor and suspicion" between Republicans and Democrats his greatest regret from his time in office. With some urging Americans to "fall back into our respective tribes," Obama instead encouraged Americans to stay involved in the political process even outside of election season.
"There's no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide, and I guarantee I'll keep trying to be better so long as I hold this office," Obama said.
Aside from politics, Obama spoke about the need for education reform, making the system more affordable and better tailored to the demands of the new economy. He called for Congress to help him strengthen safety nets for people who lose their jobs while pointing to the Affordable Care Act as a means of protecting workers.
"Americans understand that at some point in their careers, they may have to retool and retrain," Obama said. "But they shouldn't lose what they've already worked so hard to build in the process."
Looking at Wall Street, Obama emphasized the need for a fair economic system that promotes opportunity for all, while taking shots at executives who would profit from wage cuts and layoffs.
Obama drew a large cheer from Republicans in the chamber after he admitted there are old government regulations on the books that need to be repealed. But the president quickly flipped to say big corporations shouldn't be making the rules that govern them, drawing cheers from the other side.
Regardless, Obama maintained the economy is humming.
"Anyone claiming America's economy is in decline is peddling fiction," Obama said.
One of the longest portions of Obama's speech concerned national-security policy. He detailed how the United States could lead without becoming a global "policeman," and insisted the country remains the strongest military force in the world.