Brian Lehrer's State of the Union Highlight Reel

Brian Lehrer

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.