U.S. President Barack Obama knocks Republican presidential candidates for anti-Muslim rhetoric in his last State of the Union speech. Yiming Woo reports.
President Barack Obama arrives to deliver his State of the Union address for the last time. He begins his speech on a people-pleasing note. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT. BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "And for this final one, I'm going to try to make it shorter. (Cheers). I know some of you are antsy to get back to Iowa." Iowa's the site of the first U.S. party caucuses ahead of the presidential election in November. In a direct hit at Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Obama said insulting Muslims hurt the United States. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT. BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid is called names, that doesn't make us safer. That's not telling what--, telling like it is. It's just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country." He also accused critics of playing into the hands of Islamic State. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "Over-the-top claims that this is World War Three just play into their hands. Masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks, twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages may pose an enormous danger to civilians. They have to be stopped. But they do not threaten our national existence. That, that is the story ISIL wants to tell; that's the kind of propaganda they use to recruit." He went on to say that Islamic State needs to be "rooted out and destroyed". Obama is eager for a Democrat to be the next President to preserve his legacy. But anger over his policies and fears about security threats have helped push less traditional candidates to the front in the Republican and Democratic races.