State of the Union

Strip away all the pomp and circumstance, and this was a campaign speech. Which is only reasonable, since the State of the Union is always a political speech, and this is an election year:

'What's at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values, we have to reclaim them," President Obama said.

As usual, the president gave a bow to bi-partisanship, but then turned hard to the partisan politics. Yes, he'll cooperate with Republicans…until they don't agree with him:

"As long as I'm president, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place," the president said.

And just in case it wasn't obvious he was talking about Republicans, he made it clear: they're for the rich, and he's not:

"We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules," the president said.

And then, of course, there was the final flourish, in which–somehow, yes, we can–together!

"It's time to apply the same rules from top to bottom: no bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts. An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody," the president said.

So now you know the theme of the president's campaign: Obama good, Republicans bad!

It's not a great argument, but given the state of the Republican race, it may be enough.


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