U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the nation on the state of American security from the Oval Office on Sunday, a setting he has only used for formal speeches two other times in his years as president.
August 31, 2010
Flanked by the U.S. and President’s flag, Obama told the nation that “Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.” With these words he brought an end to nearly a decade of war and fulfilled one of his major campaign promises.
With the long and costly operation coming to a close, Obama said the U.S.’s most “urgent task” was to “restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work.” At the time, the nation was still suffering from the 2008 financial crisis.
June 15, 2010
Obama’s first Oval Office address concerned what he called “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.” On April 20 an explosion ripped a hole in the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, killing 11 workers and dumping millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, just 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana.
In his speech, Obama praised the ongoing cleanup operation while acknowledging the permanent damage already done to the coastline and wildlife. He issued a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling and spoke of stricter industry regulations to ensure the mistake did not happen again.
The tragedy on the coast, he said, was “the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now.”