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state of the union

President Obama: “Tonight, we turn the page …”

President Barack Obama delivers his sixth State of the Union address, at the United States Capitol, January 20, 2015:

From the White House: Enhanced SOTU

President Barack Obama speaking to Congress and the American people:

… tonight, we turn the page.  Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999.  (Applause.)  Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis.  More of our kids are graduating than ever before.  More of our people are insured than ever before.  (Applause.)  And we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years.  (Applause.)

Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.  (Applause.)  Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Today, fewer than 15,000 remain.  And we salute the courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 Generation who has served to keep us safe.  (Applause.)  We are humbled and grateful for your service.

America, for all that we have endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this:  The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong. (Applause.)

Transcript below the fold …

Previewing the State of the Union Address – January 20, 2015

From the White House:

Click on this link to connect to the Enhanced State of the Union Address tonight at 9pm Eastern. Guaranteed to be pundit-free.

Watch Here

The president previews the State of the Union …

The First Lady will be sitting with Dr. Jill Biden and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President. Her guests are people from all over the country including:

Anthony Mendez (Bronx, NY)

Student, “Reach Higher” Initiative

Growing up in the South Bronx with his mother and three siblings, Anthony Mendez names two experiences from his formative high school years. In ninth grade, his best friend was murdered in his neighborhood, and the next year his family was evicted from their home and moved into a homeless shelter. Living two hours away from school, for six months Anthony had to wake up at 4:30AM to continue his education. Overcoming these experiences, he became the first high school graduate in his family – his story of perseverance represents the core of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative. In July he met the First Lady and fellow students who never took their education for granted, and he said he learned to be proud of his past and never hide from it. Today Anthony is a freshman at the University of Hartford — where he plans to study Political Science – on a partial track and field scholarship.

Follow the State of the Union on Twitter

Punditry below the fold …

Weekly Address: President Obama – State of the Union Is This Tuesday

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President recounted the stories of letter writers from around the country who will be joining him when he delivers his annual State of the Union address this Tuesday: Carolyn, who was able to expand her small business through a Small Business Administration loan, and this year raised wages for their hourly employees; Jason, a wounded warrior who served in Afghanistan and is now back home with his wife and first daughter, born in November; and Victor, who affords his student loans with help from the Income Based Repayment Plan, and has health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.

Stories like theirs are proof of the progress our country has made. The President encouraged everyone to tune in Tuesday evening to hear more about America’s comeback, and the steps we can take to ensure all Americans – not just a fortunate few – benefit from our American resurgence.

Preview of the 2014 State of The Union Address plus News and Views on Income Inequality

From the White House, an email from Dan Pfeiffer, Senior Advisor:

We’re now just [one day] out — and the President wanted you to get the first preview of what this speech is all about. As always, he’ll be working on it right up until game time, but three words sum up the President’s message on Tuesday night: opportunity, action, and optimism.

The core idea is as American as they come: If you work hard and play by the rules, you should have the opportunity to succeed. Your ability to get ahead should be based on your hard work and ambition and who you want to be, not just the raw circumstance of who you are when you’re born.

On Tuesday night, the President will lay out a set of real, concrete, practical proposals to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class, and empower all who hope to join it.

In this year of action, the President will seek out as many opportunities as possible to work with Congress in a bipartisan way. But when American jobs and livelihoods depend on getting something done, he will not wait for Congress.

President Obama has a pen and he has a phone, and he will use them to take executive action and enlist every American — business owners and workers, mayors and state legislators, young people, veterans, and folks in communities from across the country — in the project to restore opportunity for all.[…]

With some action on all our parts, we can help more jobseekers find work, and more working Americans find the economic security they deserve. That’s why, in the week following the speech, President Obama will travel to communities across the country — including Prince George’s County Maryland, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and Nashville, before returning to the White House to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed.

White House: Get Ready for the Speech

   The State of the Union Address, January 28, 2014 at 9pm Eastern

On Rubio’s Reply

Rubio water

While it’s the awkward lunge for the water bottle that everyone will remember from Marco Rubio’s rebuttal of the State of the Union, what the content and tone of the address convey is significant.  Yes, Rubio flubbed the speech, although what impact that has upon his chances for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination remains to be seen.  However, the defensive tone of the speech, combined with the content, indicates a Republican Party on the ropes that is struggling with messaging and ideas.  That was evident from the moment he opened his mouth and began to speak last night.

At the very outset it was clear that Rubio was on the defensive against what Republicans are correctly perceived as wanting to do.  He discussed what Republicans didn’t want to do.  He launched into the same old, and tired, attacks against President Obama.  He effectively called him a communist, socialist, take your pick of various scare tactics used against anyone left of center.  It was straight out of the Republican playbook, but with a tone that made clear the speaker was unsure if those scare tactics would work.  After all, Mitt Romney ran on those exact same scare tactics and he’s still Former Gov. Romney, while President Obama just delivered another State of the Union address.

Most remarkable, though, was a prescient criticism of the Rubio rebuttal that I heard, although I forgot the person who mentioned it.  It basically went along these lines:

Marco Rubio just criticized ‘big’ government by pointing out everything that government has done for him and his family.

State Of The Union Limerick Live-Blog Recap!

I managed to sneak these limericks into the State of the Union liveblogging tsunami of comments over at The Place That Shall Not Be Named. Thought you might enjoy this alternative account of the festivities 😉

Speaker Boehner: hey, what’s up with him?

The orange fellow is looking quite grim

As his caucus rebels

He develops new “tells”

Will he ever prevail? Odds are slim.

All the others seem happy enough

(Then they’re made of less lachrymose stuff)

Boehner always seems blue

And can weep right on cue

I am guessing tonight will be rough.

Poor Paul Ryan; the kid looks upset

Like he just lost a costly bar bet

When your world turns to sh*t

Just call up Uncle Mitt

All your worries he’ll help you forget.

Mitch McConnell stares out into space

With a vacuous look on his face

All expression he lacks

Like a man carved of wax

No museum? He looks out of place.

What’s with Biden? He looks awful pale

Tonight’s make-up was really a “fail”

Let’s just hope he’s alright

And not ailing tonight

‘Cause we need Fightin’ Joe to assail!

This applause for each line’s getting old

Yes, I know, these proposals are bold

But it’s not overreach

To just lay out a speech

Before all these hot ideas grow cold.

Just imagine if Mitt gave this speech

We’d be watching with one painful screech

We’d be screaming in pain

As he sold out to Bain

But tonight he’s on Cayman’s white beach.

Manufacturing! Yesss! Tell us more!

Now Obama’s got programs in store

To bring jobs back again

For our women and men

It’s a message we cannot ignore.

Infrastructure! It’s time to get real!

Crumbling bridges? Let’s move on that deal!

Weatherize every home

Be it bung’low or dome

Help our kids get a good school-day meal!

Education from preschool for all!

What about it? Let’s answer the call!

Our investment return

As our kids really learn

Will have all of our folks standing tall!

Go to college (you won’t be a snob!)

It’s essential for any good job

We’ll help parents to find

Which school won’t be a grind

To help cute little Cindy or Bob

Immigration? More boots on the ground!

We need people – ideas will abound!

Send me up the damn bill

Don’t waste time on the Hill!

And enough with your whimpering sound!

When you live in this challenging age

You can’t get by on minimum wage

In the land of the brave

You’re a lowly wage slave

That is really a dreadful outrage!

Many troops will return from afar

Well, the generals look like they are

Feeling sad to hear that

But peacetime’s where it’s at

I’ll buy them the first round at the bar!

Now it’s freedom, for folks the world o’er

As we travel to each distant shore

As Commander in Chief

It’s Obama’s belief

That although we’ve done much, there’s still more.

Equal treatment for all, straight or gay!

And yet Boehner just sits, ashen gray

As he seethes in his seat

In his squirmy defeat

Face it, orangeman: today’s a new day

Gun control: now it’s time we get real

This is really a simple appeal

Since the Newtown dark day

Many more passed away

Like Hadiya, so folks: here’s the deal

It’s past time for the Congress to act

On the measures that Gabby has backed

For the families who’ve cried

We are here by your side

We must feel your deep pain and react

As the gun carnage stats are rolled out

There is something of which there’s no doubt

Hey: Ted Nugent! You turd

We will not hear one word

Because “hate” is not what we’re about!

Now rebuttals come next, I can’t wait!

First I’ll fix a nice little snack plate

Then I’ll drink to the Prez

And the things that he says

But for GOPers, I won’t stay up late.