Follow the jump for a graphic of everything they show in this release.
Posts Tagged ‘State of the Union’
Turn on your TV at 9 p.m. ET (2 a.m. GMT). Any unfair and off-balance news channel will do. Or, if you’re like me, watch it on the White House livestream.
Whitehouse.gov will have an enhanced broadcast that promises “charts, stats, and data.” Afterwards, you can submit your questions in a chat with White House senior advisors. If you’re not excited by that, then this blog probably isn’t for you.
For those watching on TV, you can enhance your own broadcast by playing SOTU bingo or a SOTU drinking game… or both. Here’s the card I’ll be using:
I’ll leave it to you to devise your own drinking game, but a word to the wise: shots for every applause break will leave the state of your union very weak tomorrow morning.
And free drinks to those who can quote the passage from the Constitution that mandates the SOTU! If so, you have something in common with Jed Bartlet – and that’s never a bad thing. Enjoy. Check back later for reflection and analysis.
Update 8:39 ET/1:39 GMT: Apparently Warren Buffett’s secretary is in the audience. This should be interesting. Mitt Romney, hold on to your taxes…
Update 8:45 ET/1:45 GMT: The White House just released a handful of excerpts from the speech. Key words: fairness, responsibility, values.
Update 9:05 ET/2:05 GMT: Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) scored himself an aisle seat and received a cordial greeting from the president. WH photographer Pete Souza was on hand to capture it. Any chance Wicker will hang that photo on the wall?
Last Tuesday’s State of the Union Address (henceforth referred to as “SOTU”) got the Super Bowl treatment in my household. There was plenty of junk food and domestic beer. To occupy ourselves during applause breaks, we played “cutaway shot bingo,” identifying famous members of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Joint Chiefs. In the spirit of bipartisanship, we even had a token Republican join us.
Let me start with the things that everyone agrees on. The speech that President Obama gave before Congress last Tuesday was well-written, well-delivered, and well-received. It didn’t have the poignance of his March 2008 speech on race, or the passion of his New Hampshire concession (the “Yes We Can” speech), but by all accounts, it was a very good speech. Post-speech polls have shown that between 80-90 percent of viewers responded favorably (which, based on self-selection in the audience and the strong “presidential” visuals, is not as uncommon as it seems.)
Politically-speaking, it was a smart speech for Obama. The circumstances around the SOTU allowed Obama to give an optimistic, if vague, speech built around themes that transcend party: competitiveness, innovation, investment, deficit reduction, and government reform. After all, his poll numbers are rising along with economic indicators, and the national political psyche is still in a period of introspection following the shootings in Arizona. The SOTU was very much a postscript to the message of the President’s tribute in Tucson. He celebrated his opponents (“That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father’s Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on Earth.”) and laughed off the vitriolic opposition to his agenda (“I have heard rumors that a few of you still have concerns about our new health care law.”) He spent very little time defending or explaining his accomplishments from the past two years, and instead focused almost exclusively on the future. This SOTU was not used as a governing manifesto, a la Bill Clinton, so it’s hard to say with any specificity what policy will come out of it (Much of the detail will be revealed in the president’s budget proposal in a few weeks.) What was clear was its “post-partisan” policy orientation and packaging, as well as some of the non-legislative tools that Obama will use to achieve his policy objectives. Ultimately, very few of the specifics from the speech will be remembered — they were not intended to be — but the image of Barack Obama, as inspirational, magnanimous, patriotic, and visionary, will endure.
The State of the Union this week, in one phrase, was about, “winning the future.” President Obama, in a move back to his campaign style, presented a highly optimistic view of the near term for America. He seemed to be trying to channel some of Bill Clinton’s cooperative style to welcome in the newly empowered GOP House majority.
It was nice to see the President make the unequivocal statement that the world has changed and jobs that have left may never come back. His long-term goals of infrastructure development and investment in education are admirable; although, the devil will be in the details. “Investing” in America is a very broad idea and the actual policies that come from this initiative will determine the value of these promises. The President also seems ready to address the issue of the deficit, which as was reported later in the week, is of growing concern.
While the President did show some general framework for a successful year and future, the lack of policy clarity leaves the speech needing more. Although the State of the Union, in my opinion, should consist more of framework than details, there were opportunities for more policy details in, for instance, discussing the deficit issues.
Going forward, the details will be important in defining the merits of the State of the Union.