Another Call for Hope in Obama's Last SOTU

President Obama's presidency came full circle in his last State of the Union (SOTU) address. The speech was not without humor. The president began by promising to keep it short, so people could get back to Iowa for more campaigning.  (Transcript)

As expected, the president highlighted accomplishments from his administration and laid out plans for the future. The speech sounded optimistic, which of course, was the theme of his first presidential campaign. He ended this way:

That's the America I know. That's the country we love. Clear- eyed, big-hearted, undaunted by challenge, optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. That's what makes me so hopeful about our future.

I believe in change because I believe in you, the American people. And that's why I stand here, as confident as I have ever been, that the state of our Union is strong.

WSJ SOTUThe audience reaction is typical and always baffles me: Republicans don't support anything a Democratic president says, and the opposite happens when we have a Republican president. It's strange to me when the President makes some points that, surely, everyone agrees with. Early on, he says, "First, how do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy?" The camera is on Marco Rubio, who sits stoically in non-response. Doesn't he support opportunity for everyone?

As usual, major newspapers showed their political bent in reporting on the SOTU. The Wall Street Journal ran a secondary headline on the front page with the title, "GOP Candidates Contrast Obama's Speech With Their Own Aims." The Journal showed additional stories under the "Politics" heading further down on the site, shown here.

In contrast, The New York Times ran the story as the main headline of the day with the title, "Obama Offers Hopeful Vision While Noting Nation's Fears," and ran more stories, including opinions, with positive titles about the speech.  

Discussion Starters: 

  • What do you consider to be the highlights of President Obama's speech?
  • Look at the audience's reactions. What's your view of the convention I mention above: how does the non-response serve each side?