Thursday, January 27, 2011

"We Do Big Things"- State of the Union

President Barack Obama speaks to a joint sessi...Image via Wikipedia

President Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress for the third time on Tuesday, January 25, 2011.  The speech drew 42.8 million viewers. The Nielsen Company reports that the audience was 11% smaller than the 48 million who watched in 2010. On February 24, 2009, shortly after taking office, the President address 52.4 million as he addressed that joint session of Congress.

Remembering the recent tradegies in Az and the injuries to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, an empty seat and a warm ovation told everyone that none were forgotten.  In addition, The President paid tribute to the men and women in our Armed Forces and their families.

Generally, the President gets positive reviews as he projected a more centrist viewpoint.  Many Congress men and women sat together, mixing Democrats and Republicans, listening to the remarks, which had been leaked to the press in advance of the presentation.  The President proposed a 5 year budget freeze on some government spending, a ban on earmarks which he promised to veto, and promised to work with Republicans on issues facing the nation. Congress strained to project a more civil manner after last year's incident where one member shouted out "You lie" in the middle of Obama's remarks.

The Supreme Court Justices were in attendance without Justices Alito, Thomas, and Scalia. Chief Justice John Roberts lead the six attending Justices including Justices Sotomayor, Ginsberg, and Kagan. Speculation had it that only the Democratic court nominees would attend. Some raise the question as to whether the Supreme Court Justices should be required to attend the session at all. Justice Alto was speaking st the University of Hawaii Law School. The other no-shows were Justices Scalia and Thomas, who rarely attend the speech.

I appreciated the President reminding the American people how things have changed in today's global marketplaace, the academic challenges we face in education, our crumbling infrastructure, energy issues, etc.
He called today our "sputnik moment" and reminded us that "we do big things".  What I remember most is him saying "it's what we do" (after the speech) that will tell the story.  Time will tell it all.

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