Seeking to energize his sluggish second term, President Barack Obama vowed Tuesday night in his State of the Union address to sidestep Congress "whenever and wherever" necessary to narrow economic disparities between rich and poor.

He unveiled an array of executive actions that included increasing the minimum wage for some federal contract workers and making it easier for millions of low-income Americans to save for retirement.

"America does not stand still and neither do I," Obama declared in his annual prime-time address before a joint session of Congress and millions of Americans watching on television.

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