NPR logo Differences Of Opinion: Obama's Speech


Differences Of Opinion: Obama's Speech

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
President Obama delivers his State of the Union address Wednesday
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

In his first State of the Union speech Wednesday, President Obama stressed the need for jobs, and he appealed to Congress to move away from partisan politics to achieve results. Commentators' opinions of Obama's address ranged from complimentary to condemning. Read a sampling of editorials and commentaries about the speech.

Ambition And Reality

"On Wednesday night, [President Obama] delivered ideas on taxes, jobs, health care, nuclear energy, national security and much more, designed to please all of the people at least some of the time. But there was one area where his ambition fell short: making the government live within its means."

Chicago Tribune
Jan. 27, 2010

Obama Focuses On 'The Benjamins'

"I found his State of the Union address to be relatively inspiring, somewhat informative, and just vague enough to remind us that politicians can hardly deliver most things that they promise. At the same time, he did what I would have advised him to do: focus on 'the Benjamins,' since Americans are mortified by the economy right now."

Dr. Boyce Watkins, The Grio
Jan. 28, 2010

The Second Year

"Mr. Obama made it clear that he would not be cowed by Washington's venomous politics, his own mistakes, or the Massachusetts election into giving up on health care reform.... We would have liked to have heard a more forceful demand — rather than a polite invitation — for the Republicans to either support his health care reform plan or produce their own plan, one that provides real security for all Americans and has a real chance to reduce costs."

The New York Times
Jan. 28, 2010

The State Of The Union

"What Mr. Obama actually provided was a little something for everyone, sometimes conciliatory, sometimes combative, often sounding much like a campaign speech, only longer."

The Washington Post
Jan. 28, 2010

Obama 2.0

"It was appropriate that the iPad was unveiled the same day President Obama gave his first State of the Union speech. Both were centered on Jobs, and both sought to give people something useful they could put their hands on."

John Dickerson, Slate
Jan. 28, 2010

Obama: Rhetoric And Reality

"We found his address moving and even inspirational at times. But now we're waiting to see what can get done in that bitterly divided town."

Los Angeles Times
Jan. 28, 2010

Reality Check: President Obama Gropes For A Strategy

"In a favorable light, his State of the Union speech may have revealed the mind of a leader who has never cared much about traditional ideological categories and is determined to create his own results-oriented composite of ideas from across the spectrum. Less charitably, the address could be interpreted as the work of a president who is desperately improvising by touching every political erogenous zone he and his advisers can think of. Under either judgment, however, it was inescapable that his 69-minute speech — for all the rush of words and policy ideas — was a document of downsized ambitions for a downsized moment in his presidency."

John F. Harris, Politico
Jan. 28, 2010

State Of The Union: Nuclear Arms Control Edition

"We need to remember that even though nuclear weapons issues are very complex, and that there is still much to be done, having a U.S. president in office who is committed to arms control, is open to discussing it with other countries, and is committed to not antagonizing the rest of the world with fancy new weapons systems, has made a world of difference."

Page van der Linden, Daily Kos
Jan. 28, 2010

Reaction To The State Of The Union

"While everyone knew the president would focus on jobs and the economy, it was nonetheless shocking it took him nearly 40 minutes to get to health care reform. Just weeks ago, it was the most important issue on his agenda. Obama made his case once again but it's far from clear whether Democrats are scared enough or feel the urgency to ignore the confused politics of the issue and pass the bill."

Taegan Goddard's Political Wire
Jan. 27, 2010

Staying The Course

"If President Obama took any lesson from his party's recent drubbing in Massachusetts, and its decline in the polls, it seems to be that he should keep doing what he's been doing, only with a little more humility, and a touch more bipartisanship."

The Wall Street Journal
Jan. 28, 2010

The State Of The Union

"He conveyed almost no sense that the country was sending him a message and that he was paying attention."

Clive Crook, The Atlantic
Jan. 28, 2010