Obama vows to protect his healthcare law from Republican attacks

President Obama took a defiant tone Tuesday as he promised to ward off Republican attacks on his signature policies, from healthcare to immigration.

“We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got a system to fix,” Obama said.

“If a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, I will veto it. It will have earned my veto,” he said to applause.

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This year’s State of the Union is the first since millions of U.S. citizens signed up for insurance under ObamaCare last year.

Still, Obama was careful to tout the successes of the program without specifically mentioning the Affordable Care Act by name.

“In the past year alone, about 10 million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage,” Obama said to booming applause and ovations from dozens of Democrats.

He also highlighted the slowing of healthcare inflation, which he pointed out is at its lowest rate in five decades.

Obama's praise for his healthcare law comes at a key time. The newly GOP-controlled Congress has already introduced multiple bills to repeal the law, which the White House has repeatedly threatened to veto.

The president had already declared "middle-class economics" to be the focus of his sixth State of the Union, though the millions of people who gained healthcare under ObamaCare were certain to receive a mention.

Last year, Obama spoke for a little over one minute about healthcare, urging people to buy coverage during the crucial sign-up period.

The politically thorny issue of ObamaCare has been largely absent from the president’s annual addresses since the law’s passage, with barely any mentions in 2012 or 2013.

In 2011, Obama directly addressed his critics and said he was "unwilling" to reverse new benefits and changes under the healthcare law.

"Instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let's fix what needs fixing and move forward," he said then.