Streams

5 Things We Learned From The President's Speech

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Much of what was in President Obama's fifth State of the Union address was expected โ€” it was signaled for days leading into the speech. Even so, there were a few revealing moments.

Here are five that stood out:

  • President Obama knows how to get even Republicans on their feet and applauding populist Democratic talking points like concerns about rising income inequality and declining social mobility. What's his secret? He did it by using Speaker John Boehner as an example. Addressing Americans' belief that destiny shouldn't be shaped by an accident of birth but by one's work effort, he said: "It's how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America's largest automaker; how the son of a barkeeper is speaker of the House; how the son of a single mom can be president of the greatest nation on Earth."
  • Obama, as Democratic Party leader, viewed the speech as a high-profile chance to give cover to congressional Democrats on the Affordable Care Act. He framed the argument against Republicans in words that sounded like they could have been written by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., or Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.: "If you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, and increase choice โ€” tell America what you'd do differently. Let's see if the numbers add up. But let's not have another 40-something votes to repeal a law that's already helping millions of Americans like Amanda [Shelley, who signed up for health care on Jan. 1 and underwent emergency surgery five days later]. The first 40 were plenty. We got it. We all owe it to the American people to say what we're for, not just what we're against."
  • Now in the sixth year of his presidency, Obama still outwardly clings to the goal of closing the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison camp for terrorist suspects that he first set as a candidate. And this despite the fact that congressional Republicans uniformly oppose that move (as do some Democrats). The president could have avoided reminding his audience of one of the signal failures of his presidency but he chose to acknowledge it. Whether civil liberties and religious groups will give him credit for that, we'll see.
  • The Treasury's new MyRA savings bond program seemed as unfamiliar to the president as it was to most of his audience. Obama slipped and called it "MyIRA" at one point and appeared to really be focusing on his TelePrompTer to get through that part of his speech.
  • Some stories are more bipartisan than others. The story of wounded Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg, an Army Ranger, drew emphatic and extended applause in the House chamber. But reaction to the story of Misty DeMars, the Oak Park, Ill., mother whose family is at risk of losing its home after her long-term unemployment insurance benefits expired following Congress' failure to renew them, broke along partisan lines. Democrats applauded loudly when the president said, "Congress, give these hard-working, responsible Americans that chance." Republicans, viewing the moment as a political stunt, didn't.
Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Source: NPR

Tags:

Comments [3]

Diane from Riverdale

Marco Rubio's email at end: "Too much spending, too much government, thumbs down" from the ending comments on one of the network stations.

Jan. 29 2014 10:23 AM
Aldith Clarke from Brooklyn, New York 11225

President Obama shows he understands the unequal living conditions in the country (USA). His focus on jobs, middle class living conditions, healthcare, and education are really the main issues preventing growth for lower/middle class people. However, even though he was on target, the support from the Congress would make things easier for all in that it is hard/unfair for the President to achieve goals by himself. It is a total shame to know that tax payers money are collected by the people who work in Congress. It appears as if Congress is collecting money from poor people to fight against them (poor people.)

Jan. 29 2014 09:15 AM
Teresa from New York, NY

Obama's sixth State of the Union...

Jan. 29 2014 09:11 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The Morning Brief

Enter your email address and we’ll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.