President Obama made a stab at fostering more political harmony in his speech. "I will not give up on changing the tone of our politics," he said. "I know it's an election year. And after last week, it is clear that campaign fever has come even earlier than usual. But we still need to govern."
The president promised that he would begin monthly meetings with Republican as well as Democratic congressional leaders. This probably comes as good news to House Minority Leader John Boehner, who complained throughout the past year about being shut out from the Obama White House. This bid at bipartisanship also signals a pivot by the president to greater engagement with Congress and an effort to refute critics who say Republicans have been ignored by his administration.
But Obama did have some warnings. He reminded Democrats that they still have large majorities, so they should "solve some problems, not run for the hills." And he said, given that Democrats no longer have a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate, that if Republicans continued to block legislation "then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well."