Archive for January 25th, 2011


reaction: heck, even mark halperin was blown away

Time: Whatever happens next, the president’s 2011 State of the Union speech represents not a new Barack Obama, but a return to the original version.  You know the one. The magnetic Barack Obama of the “Red American/Blue America” 2004 Democratic convention speech. The distinguished Barack Obama whose non-ideological best-selling book captivated the nation. The inspiring Barack Obama whose post-partisan rhetoric and promise won him the White House with decisive support, including from independent voters.

…he delivered one of the strongest efforts yet at explaining his rhetorical theory of the case for how his policies will create jobs in America. And he laid even more of a trap for Republicans, whose challenge to cut spending without damaging valuable programs or raising taxes grows more difficult by the day (and the president knows it).

…Obama’s presentation was close to flawless: upbeat and animated, leisurely and assured… by returning to his rhetorical roots – as a progressive who believes America can meet its challenges only by working across partisan lines and rejecting tired old politics and extremist demands – Obama harnessed the momentum he has had following his December bustle and Tucson leadership to achieve a soaring State of the Union.


True, there are a few predictable bits of nonsense from Halperin in the piece, but we should give him credit: it’s the first thing he’s written in about two years that didn’t mention the half-term ex Alaskan Governor. Maybe he’s suddenly noticed this President is a rather good? Welcome to the real world, Mark 😉


“Reaganesque”? 🙄

CBS: An overwhelming majority of Americans approved of President Obama’s overall message in his State of the Union on Tuesday night, according to a CBS News Poll of speech watchers.

According to the poll, which was conducted online by Knowledge Networks immediately after the president’s address, 91 percent of those who watched the speech approved of the proposals Mr. Obama put forth during his remarks, while only nine percent disapproved.

Specifically, 82 percent of those who watched the speech said they approve of the president’s plans for the economy, up from 53 percent who approved before the speech.


Even Politico – !!!!!! – conceded it was a triumph. Oooh, I bet that hurt.

President Obama’s second State of the Union was a “personal triumph” that received strong, positive reactions from Democrats and Republicans, according to an instant analysis from the polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.

The firm monitored the reactions of swing voters and unmarried women from Colorado as they watched the speech. According to the analysis, before the address, the test group’s approval of the president was 30 percent – by the end of the speech, the approval rating had gone up to 56 percent.

The sample group responded very strongly to Obama’s key economic concepts, as well as to his call to educate, innovate and build. Two of the strongest moments of the night were when Obama referred to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and when he called on millionaires to be taxed more.


Paul Begala: Obama’s SOTU: Putting the Jam on the Lower Shelf So the Little People Can Reach It …. We have long known that Barack Obama can do the “vision thing.” In this State of the Union address, though, he did the specific thing … President Obama spoke directly to those people — the ones Bill Clinton calls “walkin’ around folks.” I suspect a lot of those folks will be lining up to march behind the plainspoken, commonsense, practical leadership President Obama is offering.


CNN: A majority of Americans who watched President Obama’s State of the Union address said they had a very positive reaction to his speech, according to a poll of people who viewed Tuesday night’s address.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicated that 52 percent of speech watchers had a very positive reaction, with 32 percent saying they had a somewhat positive response and 15 percent with a negative response.


And even Paul Krugman struggled to find anything to make him OUTRAGED!!!!

Paul Krugman: Considering the rumors a few weeks ago, which suggested a cave on Social Security, this wasn’t too bad. Obama said that we’re going to do something about Social Security, but unclear what. And in general he at least somewhat stood his ground against the right. In fact, the best thing about the speech was exactly what most of the commentariat is going to condemn: Obama did not surrender to the fiscal austerity now now now types.

Simon Tisdall (The Guardian): This speech was about vision, leadership, and next year’s presidential election. It scored well on all three fronts. Obama was both stark and optimistic. He told Americans something they may not want to hear: that a country that has dominated the world for so long now risks being overtaken by China and other rising powers.

But Obama said America’s fate was in its own hands. Through increased investment in education, research and innovation, the US could reassert its global primacy. He was confident it would prevail. While calling for increased bipartisanship, Obama threw down the gauntlet to Republicans. He dared them to follow his lead in confronting America’s problems, rather than try to obstruct him. Significantly he made no apology for his landmark healthcare reforms.

….The speech will add momentum to Obama’s recent resurgence in the opinion polls. It positions him as a national rather than a sectional leader. It showed he has a clear vision of America’s path forward. And his message, in hard times, was one of infinite possibility, unity and positive endeavour. The Republicans in contrast were implicitly painted as mean, divisive, negative – and leaderless … Last night Obama looked like a winner again. It was his Apollo 13 moment.


an absent friend

This photo provided by the office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shows Mark Kelly watching the State of the Union address with Giffords in her hospital room in Houston, Tuesday, Jan. 25


state of the union

Attorney General Eric Holder, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

“Don’t cry – again.”

A seat sits empty for recovering Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

…with John, Dallas and Roxanna Green, family of the late Christina Taylor Green of Tucson

…with Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK)

with Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill, right, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., center, and Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa

Read the text of the address here

President Obama’s arrival:

The official White House video:

Here’s the C-Span version:

Enhanced White House version:


guest list

See who’s invited to State of the Union tonight – here

Daniel Hernandez, the intern credited with saving the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in Arizona, is thanked by 9/11 first responder Charles Giles outside Gifford’s office on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 25. Hernandez will be a special guest of first lady Michelle Obama during Tuesday’s State of the Union address by President Barack Obama.



First lady Michelle Obama speaks during the National Mentoring Summit at Library of Congress in Washington Jan 25

Information here


fired up, ready to go

On the day of his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama strides from the Oval Office along the Colonnade at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 25

As President Obama strolled from the Oval Office to lunch in the residence Tuesday afternoon, he gave his State of the Union speech a modest thumbs-up. “I think it’ll be OK,” he said when asked how his 9 p.m. speech is coming along. “I hope so, anyway.”

The President gave television anchors and other TV reporters an in-person preview of his State of the Union address this afternoon, hosting them for lunch at the White House. The pool reports that seen gathering at the White House were MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, ABC’s Diane Sawyer, NBC’s Brian Williams and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

White House advisers Valerie Jarrett, David Plouffe David Axelrod and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs walk along the colonnade near the Oval Office


it’s a starter

President Barack Obama talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a phone call in the Oval Office, Jan. 25, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

CNN: Russia’s lower house of parliament ratified Tuesday the first post-Cold War nuclear disarmament treaty with the United States, the Interfax news agency said.
The sweeping arms reduction pact, known as New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) replaces START 1, which expired in December 2009.

The treaty, considered a critical component of nuclear non-proliferation efforts, was signed by President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last April and approved by the U.S. Senate in December.

It is designed to slash the stockpile of strategic nuclear weapons in both countries to 1,550 warheads — down from a current cap of 2,200 — and 700 launchers.
The treaty also calls for a resumption of inspections of nuclear arsenals that ended when START 1 expired and helps move forward with White House efforts to “reset” U.S.-Russian relations.

Obama has called the treaty “the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades” and the U.S. Senate’s approval in December gave Obama a key victory on what has been considered one of his top foreign policy priorities.



too funny

President Barack Obama shares a laugh with Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. during a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the Oval Office, Dec. 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


doing right



First Lady Michelle Obama greets patients and staff at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Lots of new official White House photos released today – see them here







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January 2011

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