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How would you grade Obama’s State of the Union speech?

By Reuters Staff
January 26, 2011

OBAMA-SPEECHPresident Barack Obama proposed a five-year freeze on some government spending and struck a centrist tone in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, hoping to prove he has fiscal discipline and can work with resurgent Republicans.

Obama also said that voters want Democrats and Republicans to govern with “shared responsibility”. He offered a raft of proposals that some of his opponents might find appealing as he positions himself for a 2012 re-election bid, but stopped short of the massive spending cuts demanded by some Republicans.

He called for a job-creating “Sputnik moment” fed by new investments in research and education like the 1950s space race, saying what is at stake is “whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else.”  In a nod to business, Obama also called for lowering the corporate tax rate.

What do you think of Obama’s call for a five-year halt on domestic spending to help rein in the national deficit? Do you think his approach to job creation will work? Grade his speech below.

How would you grade Obama's State of the Union speech?

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A speech filled with grandiose Liberal designs for the economy and very short on recognition of the debt crisis fast moving toards us. It’s as if the November elections never happened. Astounding!

Posted by richjacy | Report as abusive

I feel for any US politician trying to hold power at the center, you have every man for themselves Tea Party followers on one wing and “Help me” welfare recipients at the other side. Mr Obama is an amazing orator and has the intellect and the charisma to pull it off.

Posted by OwenBay | Report as abusive

two words missing- Gun Control

Posted by maryannfaithful | Report as abusive

Let’s stop the Liberal, Conservative polarization garbage-talk, and start tackling these huge issues with clear eyes, hearts and intentions; employing a dogged work ethic as if we were a band of brothers going to war. The alternative is to continue to erode our own future and wind up with a disaster that will hurt the country more than it’s hurting now.

Trying to be chronically “self-righteous” and constantly playing politics to come out as if anything worthwhile was invented by one party or another is sheer stupidity and the worst kind of negative folly. Pull together and the wagon moves. Pull in opposite directions, and the wagon sits in the ditch. We elected these politician’s to office. So let’s do everything we can to support their efforts and keep the country from falling further into the abyss while China and the rest of the world looks on with chagrin, kachinging themselves into a bright future.

Posted by rigpa44 | Report as abusive

Nice that for a change the plan is not to fix the economy by building more arms and invade more countries, but by investing in education and alternative energy.

Posted by Rhino1 | Report as abusive

Statements like ‘we must stop runaway spending’ and ‘we must work together across party lines’ remind me of ‘no family earning less than $250,000 will be taxed more’ and ‘the reform of the nation’s health plan will be more economical’. We have economically sold ourselves to China. Fool me once– I don’t care if it is Dem or Repub, I know a dog and pony show when I see it. It was the same old song with an added verse inspired from the tragedy in Arizona. Typical to take advantage of a situation like that and turn it into an opportunity to slide to the center. Well, you can’t be in the center. You either stand for something or you don’t. You can’t ride the fence. I had rather know where someone really stood than have him here one day and there the next, on an issue. All I have to go on are the words that come from his mouth and the deeds that follow. The excuses don’t mean much. Blame Obama, blame Bush, blame Hoover. When he signs on for the job, he knows going in what faces him (or should, he has been out there for over a year campaigning on his facts telling what he would do). Obama was a ‘Yes we can!’ man and now in my opinion he is a ‘But we didn’t’ man. He was full of his agenda and pushed it through without any regard to the raised voices of millions of America’s citizens, and now he is trying to rally that support base again. For me, if a person lies to me, I have lost trust and it is hardly ever recovered. Trust is a value that is not held very sacred anymore. Seems all expect politicians to lie. Well, it is sacred to me and I think Obama has another agenda for us for his second term. I’m willing to help the wagon to move forward, but I am for a mule driver driving, not a politician.

Posted by dardyl | Report as abusive

What Obama wants, is not what he gets. 400 Billion over 10 years is less than what America gives to Israel, in money and kind, over the same period of time.

Posted by Castlecrag | Report as abusive

The SOTU issued a challenge to the American People to “keep up” in this 21st Century world in Education and Clean Energy. Unfortunately, 1/3 of the American People have been told they should want to return America to the 19th Century, and believed it. Thankfully, we have a solid group of Independent, free thinking Americans who I believe will accept that challenge for Progress.

Posted by SmallBusiness | Report as abusive

Let’s not forget that the Conservatives created the mess we are trying to get out from under. Liberals are now in the unenviable position of having to balance what should be done with what politics on both sides of the aisle will allow.

Posted by abkisa | Report as abusive

@rigpa44, the USA needs more Americans like you to become the respected powerful country you once were. (your war mongering is bullying and controlling, so I mean power of the people not military strength)

And @dardyl, that was a simply negative diatribe. That you cannot find anything good to say about your president means you haven’t bene paying atention. he has done some remarkable things since taking office and under formidable circumstances.

As a Canadian I am well aware of the filibusters and how there was a record amount of Republican s simply saying no and tying his hands. How is it that you blame the President alone for not completing his agenda in the first 2 years?

I challenge you to find something positive and to stay abreast. If more of your countrymen did so, rather then simply bad mouthing for the sake of it, you might find a lot of strength and hope for the bad times still ahead.

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

@rigpa44 Excellent points. We are where we are because of involvement from both parties. Let’s acknowledge our hurt egos and move on. The rest of the world is not waiting for us.

Posted by John747 | Report as abusive

He’s exactly right about needing to invest in the right things to help the economy and the national debt over the long run. Industry can do a lot to advance new technologies, but when they are cash-strapped and have to cut funding for basic research, the whole pipeline gets choked off. Government grants for wisely-chosen basic research and engineering that initiate and develop new technologies: a) gives the US a little bit more of an edge against other countries; b) help the US keep ownership of the intellectual property rights to those new technologies; c) give the US a better chance to be the primary merchant of those new technologies in the global market, which ties in with being able to keep some high-end manufacturing in this country a while longer.

Anti-science tea party trolls – and freshly-elected Republicans – who don’t understand this are not contributing to the right dialog – they’re dragging us all down in the long run.

Posted by indyreader | Report as abusive

Long oh hyperbole and short on substance as usual.
The average man on the street has no idea how the huge US deficit and out of control spending will hurt them.
Especially for the working class who the president is supposed to be helping the most.
They seem to love him even as food and gasoline prices are rising and will continue to rise at an increasing rate.
For the working poor Food and transportation costs make up a large portion of their budget
Inflation is a very ugly monster which will consume America and cause years of economic stagnation.
It causes higher relative taxes, lower buying power, and forces the government to compete with the private sector
for funds, retarding economic growth.
Welcome back stagflation thank you Jimmy and Barack

Posted by DrakeUK | Report as abusive

Others started this road trip with the economy with Bush moving faster and now Obama is driving America over the cliff.
Anyone who cannot see this has blinders on.

Posted by Sunday30 | Report as abusive

Previously Obama told the Republicans to move to the back of the bus. Now he calls for cooperation! How sweet!

Posted by Marshelk | Report as abusive

Why aren’t no one being specific – The SOTU is probabaly not the to speak on one issue for a hour (or 2 issues for 30 mins each). Obama was sort of directional in this speech, Ryan was not specific at all (but we know what he has up his sleeve – healthcare vouchers and privatizing SSI), and Bauchman told us things we already heard or know – gas is high, deficit is higer, new health law should be scraped). Ok, I get it. Let’s bring ideals.

Posted by uc8tcme | Report as abusive

For anyone to think Obama was going to bring up gun control does not know his approach – he does not give knee jerk reponses. He thinks on issues and analyize them then he will speak on it.

Posted by uc8tcme | Report as abusive


There are plenty of Americans who will spew hateful disdain about the President simply due to party affiliation.

Not surprising given the relentless assault provided by Fox News and the numerous Right Wing talk radio shows across America. No matter what this president says or does, there will be vitriolic nay sayers attacking his every word in an effort to diminish his political power. But to what ultimate end? and does any of that help America?

“Stay abreast” is apt, but not possible if you only use media sources that report on conjecture, opinion and strategic misinformation for a political purpose.

If you watched Sean Hannity last week, he and some other Fox stooges kept defending their right to be as negative and vitriolic as they wanted against their liberal opposition…in the name of free speech, regardless of what happened in Arizona…they do not want to lose the strongest tool in the arsenal: peddling hate and fear, and demonizing the left…in favor of sanity and reason. Where’s the divisive entertainment value in that?

Speaking of reason…

The President’s SotU speech was fair, and it was right for the time we find ourselves in and it directed attention towards issues that require unbiased reason and political will to overcome the choke hold corporate influence has in America’s halls of power. Restructuring tax laws to eliminate billion dollar loop holes for big oil and other corporate giants in order to reduce tax burdens on small business was fantastic. So was the call to make transparent the meetings between lobbyist and our elected leaders…as was the call to all American’s to hold themselves accountable in the academic success of their children and to upend the education system that has allowed substandard teachers to exist within the system…

The political games of “we’re always right, they’re always wrong” have little place in a serious push to build a stronger collective future for this country. Last night, President Obama underscored this theme and our times deserve this.

Posted by NobleKin | Report as abusive

hsvkitty, A negative diatribe? Enumerating the events that have taken place can’t be hidden in their effects on our society. I have (bene) paying (atention)!! In case you didn’t notice, I named several Presidents and both parties that I felt had a hand in the predicament we are in. HE said the words. HE did or did not do the deeds. DEEDS are in the proof. I hoped he was the answer for our nation that we so badly needed at the end of the Bush years, but I have been sadly disappointed. It turns out he is only another politician. HE has the ultimate say, though, using the veto, so I can’t immagine his hands were tied all that much (the majority of Congress was Democrat). I believe that you earn praise for a job well done and nothing for a poor or half-completed job that was done on the QT and passed in virtual secrecy
That was another broken promise, transparency. You want me to find something positive to say about my President? He takes excellent vacations. I feel my country is in jeopardy. I hurt and I am scared because it is not politically correct to say bluntly what you feel and think for it might offend someone. I did that very thing and you took me to task for it accusing me of negativity. You have no idea of the things I raved about with Bush or anyone else. It is my country, the promises made, the actions that follow the words. What is there to say? I still hope for the one that keeps his word and is the mule driver.

Posted by dardyl | Report as abusive

There is no question that President Obama is an extraordinary communicator. I do not question his passion for his vision for America. However, I believe that President Obama‘s message left out three of the most important elements. The President, in my opinion, failed to accomplish three important items in his presentation.

1) The President is still focused on growing government. He made a few minor concessions to businesses that seemed to be directed at Republicans but he didn’t bother to even clarify any specifics to the American people. I assume one of his comments about reducing a burden to businesses refers to a part of the legislation that would require a massive amount of 1099 requirements. He did not give any clarification.

2) He referred to a trillion dollar cost to America if the health care reform law were to be repealed. Again, very vague and lacked any information on what he based this accusation on. For example, was his calculation based on an assumption that no legislation would replace the repealed legislation? The president made strong assertions that Health Care reform was largely about bending the cost curve. Now he seems content with an argument that it’s about getting more Americans insured. Interestingly, you don’t hear him or any other strong supporters of Obamacare pointing to other countries as evidence that they are a better model. He certainly isn’t pointing at Massachusetts, as the very recent research shows that this model, which is the primary model used to create Obamacare, reports higher costs on average than the rest of the country. To be fair, the real discussion (not a speech with a few sound bites and general statements) should determine what the cost (or cost savings) would be if the plan were repealed and certain elements and strategies were implemented in its place. This might produce a real picture for legislators and the individuals they serve with the needed transparency to participate in a real debate. Once again, the president alluded in his speech that he is open to listening to other ideas. However, he clearly held himself in a way that, in my observation, is a message to America that it’s either Obamacare or no plan at all. Over the coming months, now that there is more of a balance of Democrats and Republicans the American people will learn that there are in-fact other ways to reform health care and a real debate will begin.

3) The president stated that the economy is on the way back and pointed to the fact that the market is up. We need our president to give us a clear picture of where we are and not a sales presentation to make the picture look better than it is. Not one state is experiencing an increase in employment and some continue to experience a decline. Squarely, most of the energy of our President and our government has to be on getting people back to work. Most importantly, the president needs to avoid the moniker of being “anti-business.” The president must believe and must show that public that he believes the well being of American business is synonymous with the well being of Americans. American businesses may be showing increases in their stock prices, but this is largely because of sales from their foreign based operations and because they have cut costs in their US production. Their profitability has little or nothing to do with the number and quality of jobs here in the U.S. The only way to improve the number (and equally important–the quality) of jobs in the US is to build the productivity of American workers. The president did highlight the importance of education. Believing in American business means more than this. It means putting a lot more money into infrastructure. It most importantly it means sending out a real strong message that our President and our government recognizes and supports American business.

Posted by BJolles | Report as abusive

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