U.S. President Barack Obama knocked Republican presidential candidates for anti-Muslim rhetoric and accused critics of playing into the hands of Islamic State. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Barack Obama knocked Republican presidential candidates for anti-Muslim rhetoric and accused critics on Tuesday of playing into the hands of Islamic State in a speech aimed at setting an optimistic tone for his last year in office. Obama, delivering his last State of the Union speech to Congress before leaving office next year, said it was fiction to declare the United States was in economic decline or getting weaker on the international stage. In a direct slap at Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, Obama said insulting Muslims hurt the United States and "betrayed" its identity. "When politicians insult Muslims ... that doesn't make us safer," he said, drawing applause from the crowd in the House of Representatives chamber. "It's just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals." Businessman Trump is leading the Republican field in the race for the Nov. 8 election to replace Obama. Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States and a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico to stop the flow of illegal immigrants, ideas Obama strongly opposes.