State of the Union Snippets: Live Blog (update continuously)

Started by intimating: It’s bad now, but when it was bad before, it got good. “Answer history’s call.” “These struggles are why I ran for President.”

Thought: It’s tough to read letters from children.

“Change has not come fast enough.”

The people don’t understand how “bad behavior on Wall Street is rewarded but good behavior on main street isn’t.”

[Biden in the background nodding appreciatively.]

[Reagan anyone?] “I have never been more hopeful about America’s future than I am tonight.”

“Shore up the same banks that caused this crisis.”

“We all hated the bank bailout. I hated it—[applause]—I hated it…It was about as popular as a root canal.”

Get them naughty banks! “Wall Street isn’t keen on this idea….They can afford a modest fee to pay back Americans who rescued them in their time of need.”

“We cut taxes for 95% of the American people.” Not said: And then we proposed raising the hell out of them.

The recovery act saved us. Through tax cuts. The stimulus bill saved firefighters.

[The head bobbing from switching from one teleprompter to the next is annoying.]

“Jobs must be our number one focus in 2010.” A new jobs bill tonight.

A tautology: “The true engine of job creation in this country is America’s businesses.” [Applause]

Take 30 billion from big banks and give it to small banks. Note said: rob the rich, give to the poor.

“Eliminate capital gains” on small business. [Reagan again?]

A new government train in Tampa paid for by taxpayers. [Like Amtrak?]

“Give rebates to Americans who make their homes more energy efficient.” [Tepid response]

“I wanna jobs bill on my desk without delay.”

Addressing large issues not good. “Such an effort would be too contentious.” [It was, yes.]

The rest of the world is better than us: they not standing still. ” I do not accept second place for the United States of America.”

Serious financial fixes. “Look. I’m not interested in punishing banks.” Can’t let banks take risks that “threaten whole economy….We can’t let them win this fight.”

Clean energy better than dirty energy. Nuclear OK. [Applause] Drill [Well, development.] Passing an comprehensive climate and energy bill. “There are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.” [Boos and hisses; yes, really.]

Another truism: The more goods we export, the more jobs we have. [Yea.] Strengthen trade.

“We only reward success.” [Hmm.] Educationally speaking. [Hmm. Hmm.] “The best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education.” “…revitalize community colleges.” “End taxpayer subsidies that go to banks for student loans.” Give more grants instead.

Don’t make students pay their loans after 10 or 20 years. “No one should go broke because they chose to go to college.” [More free ponies for all.]

Refinance rules need changing for the middle class. “We still need health insurance reform…[applause]…We do. Now. Let’s clear a few things up. I didn’t choose to tackle this issue to get some legislative victory under my belt…I took on health care from the stories I’ve heard…from those with pre-existing conditions.” Protect Americans from the “worst practices” of the insurance companies.

Wife will “tackle” childhood “obesity epidemic.” [We have it bad when food is plentiful and cheap.]

“Our approach brings down the deficit…” [Pelosi jumping up and random moments. Must have piles.]

“By the time I’m done speaking tonight, more Americans will lose their health insurance.” [And others will have gained it.] Some doctors like my idea. But I’ll accept any idea that’s better, even if it’s from Republicans. [He gets to decide what’s “better.”] “Don’t walk away from reform…Let’s get it done.” [Only half stand.]

Setting the record straight. Bush [unnamed] spent a lot of money. [Therefore, so can I.] “Just statin’ the facts.” “We took office amid a crisis.” [It’s not our fault.]

“We’ll freeze government spending for three years.” On some things. In most areas, we’ll spend freely. Take money from rich. How about a bi-partisan fiscal commission? No gimmick! “I refuse to pass this problem on…” Senate should restore “pay as you go law.”

But…The freeze actually won’t start until next year. [Laughter.] “That’s how budgeting works.” [Snorting!] Actually, it was all that scalliwag [unnamed] Bush’s fault.

We need to end influence of lobbyists…”to do our work openly…That’s what I came to Washington to do.” Lobbyists must disclose contacts [Good idea] and report funds. The Supreme Court screwed up and allowed “foreign” powers to spend “without limit” in our elections. [It’s OK for the New York Times and MSNBC, though. Is Scalia heading for the exit?]

“I never thought that the mere fact of my election would usher in peace and harmony.” [Everybody else did.]

Republicans obstruct my bills. [Applause.] “I’m speaking to both parties, now.” [No applause.] “This sows” distrust in our citizens. [Who don’t know what to think without guidance?]

Democrats shouldn’t “run for the hills” in their majority. Republicans should stop insisting that 60 votes are what are needed. “Just saying no” is not good leadership. [Shame! Shame!]

Security. “We can argue who’s to blame.” [Yes, we can.] Let’s do what it takes to create a “hopeful future.” [Stock quote: with applause.] T-word. We’ve disrupted “plots.” We’ve prohibited “torture.” We got some bad guys. More than that guy who I replaced did.

When I was candidate, I said I’d end Iraq war. And, lo, it will be so. By “August” our troops will be out. [Soon, soon.] Our soldiers have our support. [Thank goodness. Now tell Hollywood we’re not all psychos.] My wife and Joe will “support military families.”

How about those nukes? We’ll talk with other countries. Sanction the recalcitrant. Iran will face “consequences.” [Iranians hate disapprobation.]

[Obama points a fair bit.]

America must be pals with human dignity. “Abroad, our greatest source of strength has been in our ideas.” [I thought it was our Navy.]

And how about civil rights and hate? Gays will now serve openly, militarily speaking. “It’s the right thing to do.” Crack down on equal pay laws. Borders are there and people that cross them should “play by the rules.”

Small fry have lost faith in our biggest institutions. “Each time a CEO rewards himself for failure” or a banker cashes check, “we lose faith.” Those darn pundits make “sound bites.” “I never suggested change would be easy.”

Some people worked hard and succeeded. [Like those CEOs and evil bankers?] “Optimism…lives on.” [Reagan doth live, verily. The word “morning” still hasn’t made its appearance.]

“Let’s seize this moment” and move forward. [God bless us, everyone.]

[And as he slides off the dais, the applause fades quickly.]


  1. Nice job. But it really didn’t matter what he said. Obama is our Imaginary President. There is no there there. People see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear — they don’t see the real man or his real words and deeds. To some extent that is true no matter where on the political spectrum the observer is. And it’s because Obama is more of an ephemeral concept than an actual human being.

    The buzz is that Obama has no “narrative,” meaning no substance. He is a ghost, an empty suit, elected on the basis of his skin color and a virulent “We Hate Bush” campaign. He has appointed thugs and fixers into a slew of “czar” positions. Every department has “special assistants,” political operatives who were placed before the Secretaries were even named. He has fumbled everything. He cannot point to a single success, while the failures are legion and horrendous. The county is reeling economically, and he has no plan, just words. “Fight, fight, fight, fight” like a junior high rumble. The old saws and finger pointing at lobbyists and bankers are wearisome cliches. The government circus is tedious and disaffecting and seen to be in opposition to the people, regardless of party.

    Congress is despised, and Obama has lost his transitory support. There is a vacuum of leadership. Where we go from here is anybody’s guess, but the electorate is growing more sour every day.

  2. Kept my word and avoided most of the speech, but the few audio snippets that intruded as I scooted from meeting to meeting, and then home, seemed rushed and miss-spoken. O sounded as if he didn’t believe his own words. It was as if an ill-prepared HS salutatorian were rushing through someone else’s speech. “Vacuum of leadership” is spot on, Mike D.

  3. Richard M

    The pundits carry parts of the message too. CNN Research Poll conducted after the speech registered 48% who felt the speech was good or great …. Fox Poll taken on the Hannity program showed 87% thought the speech was “sucky”.

    I trust the Fox poll taken from texting viewers more than the CNN numbers because the Fox poll seems more honestly described. The Woman who delivered results for CNN is telling viewers “the party whose man is in the office has more viewers polled”, or some such string of words.

    As is usual, they don’t just say that their audience is made up of mostly democrats who turn to CNN for their oversampling of the ‘Gergens and Borgers’.

    Most viewers see the political debate through a lens made of their own world view. That said, the speech was doubling down on failure to be transcendant and loading both barrels for the progressives while shortsheeting the rest of us.

    Erik Erickson of RedState was able to explain for viewers a truism toward the very end of the Blitzer/King/Brown report; Conservatives and Obama have a different worldview and will not see eye to eye for the foreseeable future but Obama has a problem now because Independents seem to have awakened and this will pose a problem for Obama’s agenda.

    The SOTU is rarely about the actual state of the nation. Its about the POTUS and his relationship with the Congress. He Lies.

    That said, I see in Obama a man who has a talent for insulting the American Nation and an inability to see his own limitations. I think the Newsweek editor summed it up pretty well for me when he said Obama is just not very honest.

    He builds a straw man and tears it down; the democrats go wild.

    All in all I think it was one of his better speeches but his progressive bent is an area he failed to explain to the voters. I’m not a fan.

  4. Richard M


    “We cut taxes for 95% of the American people.” Not said: And then we proposed raising the hell out of them.

    The SOTU should reflect honesty and realism but Obambi is building his legacy, instead.

  5. Ari


    Political appointees are a symptom, and something I think should be changed: I’ve always felt that career civil servants are the way to go. As much as the Japanese bureaucracy is a pain in the ass for reform (and some is really needed), it is very much professional.


    The fact that a sitting Democratic POTUS is coming out even tepidly in favor of nuclear is so much bigger than people give credit. What I’ve always said about energy issues is that the best solution to the “energy problem” will never be so-called renewables. It will be nuclear, for better or for worse. Alas that it’s taken the US so long to re-warm up to it.

  6. Career civil servants are the bane of our democracy. A permanent class of moochers is not conducive to freedom and liberty. 90% of the Fed bureaucracy could and should be eliminated or outsourced to the private sector.

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