WASHINGTON (AFP) - (AFP) - 0341 GMT: And with that we conclude AFP's Live Report on this year's State of the Union address. Thanks for joining us.
0338 GMT: Such was the fast pace of the State of the Union address that we missed immigration, so let's go back. No doubt with an eye on Hispanic voters, the president said Washington should get to work "right now" on comprehensive immigration reform. If that can't be done in an election year, he said, there should at least be agreement on enabling young, skilled foreigners to remain on US soil and contribute to the nation.
0325 GMT: Obama wrapped up his speech just as he started it, holding the US military up high as an example for elected officials to follow. "This nation is great because we built it together," he added. "This nation is great because we worked as a team. This nation is great because we get each others' backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great, no mission too hard." Just for a second there, it felt like Obama was going to toss in his winning 2008 campaign slogan: "Yes, we can."
0318 GMT: AFP'S Olivier Knox has a better view in the chamber than I do viewing the television screen: "The speech is over, and Republican lawmakers are racing for the exits – President Obama hasn’t even left the room yet."
0314 GMT: Obama has concluded his State of Address. He's now mingling with his cabinet, shaking hands and exchanging a few words with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, among others. He's also signing copies of his address. He's left-handed, by the way.
0312 GMT: "America is back," Obama says, although the chamber oddly fails to react when he says so. He adds: "Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn't know what they're talking about."
0310 GMT: We're on to global affairs now. "A wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa," says Obama, who has "no doubt" the Assad regime will soon learn that "the forces of change can't be reversed." On Iran: "Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal."
0300 GMT: AFP's technology editor Chris Lefkow notes: "The hashtags #SOTU and #StateOfTheUnion are the top two trending hashtags on Twitter. The White House is tweeting real-time quotes from the speech on @whitehouse and the Obama re-election campaign is doing the same on @barackobama."
0257 GMT: We're on deficit and taxes now. There's good applause when Obama challenges Congress to pass a payroll tax deduction "without delay." Calling for higher taxes on the rich, he promotes the "Buffett rule" -- no-one earning more than $1 million a year should pay less than 30 percent in tax.
0248 GMT: Cutting a very wide swathe, Obama is underscoring the need to renew US infrastructure ("So much of America needs to be rebuilt") and to put better rules in place to govern Wall Street and the financial sector ("These don't destroy the free market. They make the free market work better"). He has also announced a new unit to look into "reckless" behavior in the mortgage industry.
0245 GMT: More observations from our man-on-the-spot Olivier Knox: "President Obama just got a big cheer from Republicans with his promise of an 'all-of-the-above strategy' on energy – the same language Republicans use in their attacks on his management of the country’s resources."
0241 GMT: Obama now is going strong on the potential of natural gas, notably fracking, as a green source of energy security. He credits federal investment for doubling the use of renewable energy. He calls for clean-energy tax credits. On Twitter, conservative groups like Americans for Prosperity are expressing their outrage, and the Daily Caller is running a word cloud that finds "American," "America," "jobs" and "energy" as the words Obama is most using.
0235 GMT: We've moved on to education. Obama says he will propose that every state require that all pupils stay in high school until they either graduate or turn 18. He also tells Congress to stop interest rates on college loans from doubling in July. Extending the tuition tax credit would keep thousands of dollars in the pockets of families with children in higher education.
0228 GMT: On top of a raft of tax reforms to lure more jobs back to the United States, Obama has just announced a Trade Enforcement Unit "charged with investigating unfair trade practices in countries like China." He added: "I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for American products -- and I will not stand by when our competitors don't play by the rules."
0225 GMT: Olivier Knox reports: "Inside the chamber, we’ve already started to see applause by party: Democrats clapped for President Obama’s defense of his record on the economy. Republicans shared sour looks." CNN has reinforced that last point with a close-up of a very poker-faced Eric Cantor.
0222 GMT: Obama is holding up the revival of the US auto industry as proof that America can once again be a manufacturing powerhouse. Lock-makers in Wisconsin are faring well, too, he says. He challenges business leaders to ask themselves how they can bring jobs back onto US shores, and promises to help them do so, starting with revisions to the complex US tax code.
0218 GMT: "The state of our union is getting stronger and we've come too far to turn back now," the president says. "I intend to fight obstruction with action. "
0210 GMT: Obama begins his address with a salute to the US military, which earns a standing applause. He declares that for the first time, Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat. The US military "exceeds all expectations," he says, asking what the United States could achieve if it followed their example.
0208 GMT: The applause for Obama is steady but not overwhelming. Obama gives a big hug to Giffords before taking his place to begin his address.
0204 GMT: The president has entered the chamber. Lots of hand-shaking as he proceeds to the podium.
0159 GMT: Michelle Obama has arrived to warm applause, as well as the Supreme Court justices, many of them in the black robes of their office, followed in turn by Obama's cabinet -- minus one member designated to stay away in the very unlikely event that the entire US leadership perishes in one fell swoop.
0157 GMT: In the run-up to tonight's address, Obama emailed his grassroots supporters around the country. "Tonight, we set the tone for the year ahead," he told them. "I'm going to lay out in concrete terms the path we need to take as a country if we want an economy that works for everyone and rewards hard work and responsibility. I'm glad to know you'll be standing with me up there."
0155 GMT: Cheers and standing applause is going out to Gabrielle Gifford, who blows a kiss in return.
0151 GMT: Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner are up on the rostrum, calling the joint session to order, ahead of the president's entrance. My colleague Olivier Knox, who is in the chamber, is scanning the crowd. "Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry's face bears the signs of the broken nose he suffered playing hockey – large bruises on either side," he says.
0150 GMT: The State of the Union is always a grand occasion -- and a seat in the First Lady's box alongside Michelle Obama is one of the hottest tickets in town. Notable on this year's guest list: Laurene Powell Jobs, wife of the late Steve Jobs of Apple fame; Mark Kelly, astronaut husband of wounded Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; and Debbie Bosanek, who famously pays more taxes, relatively, than her boss Warren Buffett. The billionaire investor from Omaha cites her as a good example why he favors higher taxes for the rich.
0146 GMT: Obama -- whose motorcade pulled up to the Capitol a few minutes ago -- starts speaking at 9 p.m. (0200 GMT), but excerpts of his address have already come out of the White House. He'll be vowing to build a US economy that is just "from top to bottom," -- with rich Americans being asked to bear more of the tax burden.
"We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by," he'll say. "Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules."
And he'll add: "Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that does the same. It’s time to apply the same rules from top to bottom: no bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts. An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody."
0145 GMT: Good evening from Washington, and welcome to AFP's Live Report on Barack Obama's third State of the Union address. Political analysts agree his speech to Congress marks the start of his campaign to convince Americans to re-elect him to the White House, after a first term made rocky by an ever-weak economy.