Amidst the backdrop of the likely tragic end to the Christopher Dorner manhunt in California, an emboldened and confident President Obama delivered perhaps his most pointed State of The Union address Tuesday in front of the 113th Congress.
The president touched on a number of different issues in his exactly one hour speech, but the crux of his message was focused on the economy, jobs, and strengthening the middle class in America. Chris Cillizza argues in The Washington Post that though the “bulk of the speech dealt with the economy,” President Obama did not offer enough specifics to help move the debate with his Republican counterparts forward.
One concrete fix the president proposed is to raise the federal minimum wage requirement to $9.00 an hour. Dylan Matthews of The Washington Post thinks that a more cost effective way to lift more families from poverty would be by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit for large families.
Strikingly, the first mention of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., and a push for gun reform did occur until almost the end of the address. When the president finally got around to the issue, it was probably the most impassioned portion of his speech. Citing Gabby Giffords, the families of Newtown and the families of Aurora, among others, President Obama pleaded with Congress to vote on the “common-sense reform” he is proposing.
One time Tea Party hero Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., whose 2016 presidential aspirations appear to have forced him to move closer in line with the establishment wing of his party, delivered a fact-challenged Republican response to the president’s speech. Rubio’s harsh personal assault on President Obama was overshadowed by an awkward water-sipping moment, begging the question of whether Rubio is ready for primetime.
Predictably, the next morning’s response to the president’s speech from high-profile Republicans such as Paul Ryan was not a glowing one.