The 2012 State of the Union Address was a speech given by President John McCain from 9 p.m. to 10:17 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, in the chamber of the United States House of Representatives. In his speech, he focused on campaign finance reform, reducing the national deficit, support for continuous presence in Afghaistan, the accomplishments against the Taliban and al-Quaeda including the Death of Osama bin Laden, and creating new energy sources in America.
Seating and guests
As always, the presiding officers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, Vice President Tim Pawlenty (as Senate President) and House Speaker John Boehner sat behind the president. This is the first time no Democrat has sat behind President McCain during a joint session of Congress.
In keeping up the tradition that began with the 2011 State of the Union Address, the members of Congress sat with members of the other political party, rather than sitting on separate sides of the room. Also, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was the victim of an assassination attempt the previous year, was in attendance, as she has plans to resign to focus on her rehabilitation from the shooting. President McCain, a fellow Arizonan, hugged Giffords when he got to her while walking up to the stage, which was met with much applause.
Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas did not attend the speech as in 2011 in protest of President McCain's criticism during the 2010 and 2011 State of the Union addresses of the Citizens United decision.
In addition to Giffords, other notable guests were invited at the behest of either the White House or the Republican leadership:
- Mark Kelly, astronaut and husband of Giffords (invited by Cindy McCain)
- Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of the late Apple Inc. former CEO Steve Jobs (invited by Cindy McCain)
- Army Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of ISAF and USFOR-Afghanistan (invited by Cindy McCain)
- Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Commander of USFOR-Yemen (invited by Cindy McCain)
- Navy Adm. William McRaven, Joint Special Operations Command (invited by Cindy McCain)
- Air Force Col. Ginger Wallace, participated in multiple combat and rescue/recovery missions; her female partner was able to attend her promotion ceremony following the repeal of Don't ask, don't tell. (invited by Cindy McCain)
- Dale Delie, President of Welspun Tubular LLC, a subsidiary of Welspun Corp. Ltd, located in Little Rock, Arkansas (invited by Boehner)
- Sen. Chris Langemeier of the Nebraska State Legislature (invited by Boehner)
The designated survivor is the member of the president's cabinet who does not attend the address in case of a catastrophic event, in order to maintain a continuity of government. The designated survivor for the 2012 State of the Union Address was United States Secretary of Agriculture, Ben Nelson.
During his state of the Union Address President McCain mentioned the previous year's accomplishments against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, including the Death of Osama bin Laden as well as most of the leadership of AQAP in Yemen. McCain also mentioned the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, scheduled to be completed by 2013, while assuring that the U.S. would keep its current troop levels in Afghanistan as long as it is needed.
McCain underscored Americas commitment to Israel, Americas determination to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon as well as Americas determination to prevent nuclear proliferation. In his Arab Spring section he praised the protesters for their fight for democracy and freedom, and mentioned his decision to support the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi by spearheading the NATO-led aerial blocade/offensive along with France and the UK. He explained during his Arab Spring section the U.S. position regarding the Syrian Uprising by saying “while it is ultimately up to the people of the region to decide their fate, we will advocate for those values that have served our own country so well. We will stand against violence and intimidation. We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings – men and women; Christians, Muslims, and Jews. We will support policies that lead to strong and stable democracies and open markets, because tyranny is no match for liberty.”
The president discussed the economic situation in America before and after his Inauguration, including his administration's successes in creating jobs and reducing the deficit. As he had criticized the previous two years he would again refer to Citizens United decision as "one of the worst, and most radically activist decisions in the Supreme Court’s history", and urged Democrats and Republicans in Congress to work on a bipartisan reform of campaign financing.
| Preceded by:|
Joint session of Congress, 2009
|State of the Union Addresses|
| Succeeded by:|
2011 State of the Union Address