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Wednesday January 27, 2010 10:07 pm

Obama Addresses the Nation: The State of Our Union

Posted by K.C. Morgan Categories: Prime Time, Specials, ABC, Cable, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, Video,

President Obama took over TV on Wednesday night to deliver his first State of the Union address, wisely scheduling his speech to occur after American Idol (which has a higher approval rating). As Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arranged themselves in their special seats, First Lady stood poised with a large contingent of service professionals who were on hand to hear the speech. It was business as usual, but there was no hiding the charged atmosphere. Barack Obama’s first State of the Union has been a long-anticipated event…as is the change the country had hoped to see.

The President entered the room to a smattering of applause, smiling as he shook hands on his way up the aisle. Once he was finally in position, he handed copies of the speech to the other two highest-ranking political figures in our land - a speech which is also obtainable as a matter of public record. Keep reading to get all the highlights.

“Our Constitution declares, from time to time, that the President will give information about the state of our union,” opened with a classic intro before he settled into his lengthy pontifications. “The worst of the storm has passed, but the devastation remains,” he summed up the country’s current fiscal situation, which is still quite grim indeed.

“Change has not come fast enough. Some are frustrated. Some are angry,” Obama struck at the heart of the matter. He asked that the people “work through our differences,” perhaps a subtle hint to Congress. “I have never been more hopeful about America’s future than I am tonight,” he added, his first big applause line (and one that awarded him a standing ovation).

“Despite our hardships, our union is strong!” Bush always said it was strong, too. “We all hated the bank bailout,” he cried, saying this was a uniting factor for all politicians. “But when I ran for President, I promised I wouldn’t just do what was popular. I would do what was necessary.” He then went on to defend his decisions, which should be quite unnecessary. The President pointed to tax cuts, which won his rousing applause from only one side of the aisle (guess which one?). He did manage to get some chuckles and clapping hands when he made a quip about the uneven show of support.

The speech took a much more serious turn at this point, speaking to the financial plight of average Americans. Obama then gave a rousing call for support for his new bill, which aims to ease some of the severe job shortage in the nation. He plans to put money into small banks to help boost the economy. Obama also wants to put a small tax credit into effect, and provide tax incentives for all businesses. Many of his ideas were met by rousing applause from the left side of the aisle, and Obama’s bill has already been passed by the House. He urged the Senate to follow suit - and half the room stood up again. “People are out of work. They’re hurting. They need help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk right away,” he declared.

Barack Obama plans to create more clean energy facilities, high-speed transportation routes and more exports for America to send to foreign nations. The ideas were met by rousing applause and many standing bodies, but support among the Republican attendees was limited at best. Such is always the case with the President, and this was no different with former President Bush (though the roles were reversed, then). The Democratic party still enjoys majority numbers in both houses.

“By now, it should be fairly obvious that I didn’t take on health care because it was good politics,” Obama threw another tongue-in-cheek joke to his avid audience, and finally the big elephant in the room was addressed. He went on at length about health care, which has truly been Obama’s stumbling block to this point. He called attention to his wife’s efforts in solving problems with childhood obesity. The First Lady modestly waved for the audience to sit down when they gave her a rousing standing ovation. “She gets embarrassed,” the President smiled by way of explanation. He is truly an , a man of the people who seems easy to identify with, and all of his charm was in effect during the long, engaging speech.

“I want everyone to take another look at the plan we proposed,” Obama said of his health care bill. “If anyone, from any party, has a better policy…let me know.” Shouts and loud applause followed his words. “I’m eager to see it. Here’s what I ask Congress, though: don’t walk away from reform.” As the sounds of ovation filled that esteemed chamber, there were a certain something in the air: hope, reborn.

“We are prepared to freeze government spending for three years,” Obama declared. This will include “discretionary programs.” “Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need, and sacrifice what we don’t. And if I have to enforce discipline by veto, I will.” He promised to continue going through the budget, eliminating programs “we can’t use.” “We will not continue tax cuts for oil companies, for investment fund managers and those making more than $250,000 a year. We can’t afford it.”

“Let’s try common sense,” he suggested. “A novel concept.” The President asked for a change in politics, matters such as earmark reform and the promotion of openness in government. The Supreme Court judges sat grim and silent when Obama pointed to a recent vote he found displeasing. He asked for bipartisan cooperation, telling the nation’s leaders that “we still need to govern” even if it is an election year. “Just saying no to everything may be good short-tern politics, but it’s not good leadership,” he directed his words to the Republican side of the room. “We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions.” The Democrats rose to applaud him at these words.

The President promised to remove troops in Iraq and Afghanistan during the summer months. “This war is ending. And all of our troops are coming home.” Barack Obama would also like to make the world safer against nuclear weapons, and pointed to a new treaty he’s establishing with Russia. He plans also to create legislation allowing gays to serve in the military, laws that will award equal salaries for working women and policies that will strengthen border security.

“I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I could do it alone,” Barack Obama explained to some of his detractors. He made a strong plea for the politicians in the room to forget party politics and do what’s best for the country (like pass certain bills, perhaps). His rousing words about the spirit of America were enough to bring a tear to the eye. “A new decade stretches before us. We don’t quit. I don’t quit!” Obama closed to his speech to loud applause, some of it only half-heartedly given.

Did he have everyone eating out of the palm of his hand? Maybe not everyone…but he no doubt melted more than one cold conservative heart in the room. Health care…is it still possible? Perhaps the topic will be well behind us by the time another address is given.



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