Brian Lehrer's State of the Union Highlight Reel

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The It's A Free Country nation responded in real time to President Obama's State of the Union address. Now, Brian Lehrer offers his picks for the passages that are worth a second look.

Common ground between the left and libertarians?

"We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's."


Obama channels "Tiger Mom"

"And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They're investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became home to the world's largest private solar research facility, and the world's fastest computer."

Praising teachers to crack down on them

"In South Korea, teachers are known as 'nation builders.' Here in America, it's time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones."

Everyone stood and cheered

"Now, the final step — a critical step — in winning the future is to make sure we aren't buried under a mountain of debt..."

No one stood and cheered

"This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid."

Retro Republican moment

"So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president."

What it was really about

"We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world."


My take

Obama's new battle lines: I'll freeze discretionary spending and cut corporate taxes if you Republicans let me invest in the long term economic infrastructure. Likely Republican push back: Government can't pick winners like the market. Just cut taxes and leave us businessfolk alone. Advantage: Obama, who I think captured "center" stage with this speech.


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Comments [3]

I want to scream every time I hear people talk about the deficit. Hey it is all Rebubulican. Remember that Clinton left office with an overage. The Bush boys and gal ran that to the ground and left this country in massive debt and two wars that noone right or left ever mentions. Why the wars are sacrosanct is beyond me. That history teacher should be ashamed of his lack of historical knowledge. Before Pelosi was speaker this counrty was starting to look like Nazi Germany with "terrorist round ups." The wars are the most crazy money drain ever, but no lets cut Social Security.

Jan. 26 2011 11:05 AM
Phil from Third World Country

Comparing the largest economy in the world and the budget of a sovereign government with the power to tax, print money, adjust interest rates, etc. to a car dealership or even a state government is absurd.

I've just been flying over southeast asia, and you can look down from the air and see the visible difference in infrastructure and prosperity from country to country. Right now I'm using a 2mbps internet connection that is standard in this part of the world and costs about 1/10 as much as a connection in the US that would only be 1/10th as fast. Conservatives sound like they want to just lie down, give up on the US and let the rest of the world pass us by.

Jan. 26 2011 10:56 AM
michael from Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY

Everyone else has been cutting back, and so should the government--Wrong!

The government is the one entity that can reverse this trend and help invigorate the economy, by spending on necessary items that will provide jobs and continue to contribute to the economy. People aren't spending, and that's reducing demand--we need to break out of this cycle.

The president's comments show that he's going with popular whims, instead of what makes economic sense, to help create jobs.

Jan. 26 2011 10:52 AM

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