Hello fellow political junkies (and hopefully a few friends), welcome to our first annual State of the Union liveblog. As we all know, President Obama will be addressing the nation (and Congress) tonight at 9:00pm ET on all major networks and we will be providing live coverage of it with instant analysis.
What can we expect tonight? I’m sure we will hear President Obama discuss sequestering, Medicare, debt ceiling, employment, Afghanistan and likely hear some proposals regarding climate change.
So hold on to your seats everyone.
8:56PM: MSNBC has likely temporarily dropped its coverage of the Christopher Dorner saga to turn to State of the Union coverage. Michael Steele is there, which is great news for….?
8:56PM: Robert Gates is now an MSNBC contributor. Huh.
8:58PM: Supreme Court Justice Antonin is not in attendance as he is giving his own competing speech. Go figure as the Supreme Court is totally apolitical, huh?
9:02PM: The First Lady has now been introduced as is the Obama cabinet, I can see Eric Holder and Kathleen Sebelius. So it’s a Who’s Who of DC. Maybe you’ll get lucky and see John Kerry!
9:03PM: The green ribbons you are seeing are in tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. Exceptionally powerful and touching gesture. I do expect that massacre to be alluded to.
9:06PM: NoLabels has stated that some officials will be wearing “Fix NOT Fight” orange badges tonight. Lame, cheap ploy by them. Bipartisanship groups have a funny way of interjecting themselves into politics by acting like it’s ONLY party loyalists that are the problems. I’d like to say that moderates usually water down most bills (PPACA for example) and are more known to obstruct rather than construct.
9:11PM: President Obama introduced and is now slowly making his way to the podium after some handshaking. John Boehner has yet to cry. New record on his behalf.
9:14PM: John Boehner still has yet to progress from the slow clap to the thunderclap as everyone shakes President Obama’s hand. Expecting Rachel Maddow to go. “and there’s Michael Phelps!”.
9:16PM: President blows kiss to First Lady, camera catches her returning it. Obama then slips documents to John Boehner and Joe Biden; I expect this is a map to a secret laboratory with millions of unmarked bills. Boehner proceeds to introduce President Obama in the same way Prince introduced Record of the Year. Very little caring.
9:17PM: Obama begins by channeling JFK’s State of the Union address and mentions “partners for progress”. Obama announces “much progress” to the American people and begins by stating that troops “will be coming home”. Seems to be fulfilling one campaign promise here as Congress rises to their feet.
9:18PM: Obama announces rising car sales and the “healing” of the housing market. Touts protection for homeowners now as opposed to pre-2008. Mentions “together” the crises have been solved. More standing ovations following Obama declaring how are union is stronger.
9:20PM: President announces that corporate profits are higher but wages and salaries have plateaued. Announces it’s the job of our generation to finish the unfinished task of “if you work hard and maintain your responsibilities, you’ll be ahead”. Obama announces government should be for the many, not for the few and stresses that opportunity should be extended to all children across the nation.
9:21PM: Light jab at the GOP as President Obama announces that the U.S. people expect “people over party” though it’s more of a wish than a true expectation. President is stressing that government can’t do everything and everyone has to do everything together. Populism.
9:22PM: Tax rates are addressed and President Obama is saying we are just short of the $4 trillion that is expected to reduce the national deficit. Beginning with the deficit is smart considering that’s one of the top stories of the Obama administration. Obama mentions that the sequester needs to be extended and it’s a bipartisan idea. Democrats applaud when Obama states that “others” (i.e. GOP) can’t only cut defense spending. “That idea is even worse”.
9:24PM: Speech begins to drift towards preserving Medicare and how healthcare needs to be aided for an aging population. Obama stresses the wealthiest 1% has to pay their fair share and the middle class needs less burden. “You can’t cut your way to prosperity” appears to be a slight jab at Paul Ryan. Which I support.
9:25PM: Obama is now touting the Affordable Care Act and is now touting the future of American healthcare which he might have a small idea on. Camera cuts to Tom Coburn not budging as Democrats applaud the idea of lower healthcare costs. Obama states he’s open to ideas from both parties as long as retirement is preserved. Mentions how “we must keep our promises”.
9:28PM: “We can get this done”, President Obama states when talking about encouraging job creation while reducing our deficit. I think there was a jobs bill that did that, but it fell on deaf ears. Obama states reform is needed for companies that keep American jobs and lowers incentives for companies that deport jobs.
9:29PM: “The greatest nation on Earth can not cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next”.
9:30PM: Obama continues to hammer partisanship, is he wearing a No Labels badge as well? Stresses we need both parties to come along though is touting progressive ideas that sound like his re-inauguration speech. Which is a good thing if true. The idea of lowering incentives for countries that outsource should be a promise that is kept.
9:31PM: Obama urges this Congress to pass the rest of his jobs bill that was alluded to earlier. Like the slight chuckle in his voice as I’m sure his gaze focused on Eric Cantor for but a brief moment.
9:32PM: Obama is touting Caterpillar, Ford and Apple bringing jobs back to America. I’m shocked that didn’t get more applause.
9:33PM: So tonight, I’m announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress to help create a network of fifteen of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is Made in America.
9:34PM: Obama now touts science, which sounds awesome especially when he mentions how scientists are studying the brain for a cure to Alzheimer’s and how to increase battery power by 10x. Another shoutout to JFK as he mentions that these are the biggest scientific breakthroughs since the Space Race.
9:35PM: President is now addressing climate change. After not really mentioning it before the election (and never the idea coming up during a debate), it’s a little nice to hear the President discuss the weather patterns over the past decade. Cap & Trade was the last real proposal that came under the Obama administration. But I sure hope that the topic is debated thoroughly in this Presidential term. Obama mentions John McCain in his last act as a “maverick”.
9:37PM: We must continue to drive down the cost of solar energy, President Obama presses. I like green Obama, I hope he stays around and the added touch of how China is going all-out in greening up their country was a nice touch to Middle America.
9:40PM: President Obama rightfully proposes a “Fix-it-First” system to repair America’s infrastructure. Obama stresses that it won’t be just taxpayers footing the bills as he wants to engage private capital into infrastructure, education and other departments. Sounds promising.
9:41PM: “Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. What are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill.”
9:43PM: Camera cuts to Arne Duncan as Obama stresses that education must start at the earliest age. President Obama states that the lack of preschool education, for lower-income children, could essentially haunt them for the rest of their lives. I support the preschool idea, if children of all incomes can be taught how to properly read and communicate at an early age, the playing field will be a lot equal. Quick little advertisement, pick-up Chris Hayes’s book “Twilight of the Elites” as it discusses the issue of lower-income education succinctly.
9:45PM: Obama now discusses “Race to the Top”, the education program that Mitt Romney even touted. Obama now wants to redesign high schools, and asks for a reform of the “Higher Education Act” which would be healthy for public universities.
9:48PM: Obama now shifts dialogue to immigration reform. He does stress increased border security and learning English. John Boehner applauds at the line, “And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods, reduce bureaucracy, and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.”
9:50PM: Obama now touts the Violence Against Woman Act that FINALLY just got passed in the Senate. He now urges the House to do the exact same, isn’t this ridiculous that a bill entitled that act is controversial?
9:52PM: “No one who works full-time has to live in poverty, let’s raise the minimum wage to $9/hr.”
9:53PM: Hey, Governor Romney mention. DRINK! But Paul Ryan tries to not roll his eyes at the mention of raising wages of the poor because austerity is far more critical.
9:55PM: The talk of President Obama helping the hardest hit communities in America is one that has intrigued me the most in this speech. Others might focus on other issues, and that’s understandable but if we can increase the jobs sent to the poorest of regions in this country; a lot of progress will be seen. I’m sure violence in lower-income neighborhoods will go down sharply as jobs and money is pumped into the area.
9:56PM: Obama formally announces that within a year another 34,000 troops will be brought home. Not a moment too soon either. I wish we could rush this timetable further but if all else fails, it appears that the one campaign promise of the War in Afghanistan ending will be a reality. It does sound like there will be a longer American presence in Afghanistan which will make us almost peacemakers in the country that still teeters with instability. Obama proceeds to highlight how Al-Qaeda has suffered (likely true) but how newer satellite groups have sprouted off.
9:59PM: President Obama briefly alludes to the North Korea nuclear test. I do think Iran appears to be a “greater threat” to the administration as Obama mentions how Russia and America both needs to reduce their nuclear capacity.
10:01PM: I think this might be one of the first mentions of cybersecurity in a State of the Union speech. Obama mentions how a new executive order was passed that will strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity.
10:02PM: Obama mentions how global poverty needs to be eradicated in many other nations and how America and its allies will join forces to try and reduce poverty. Very interesting thought, and I think this is a worthy sneak-peek into the post-Presidency of President Obama. Also mentioned the global AIDS crisis which end is “in our reach”.
10:04PM: Obama carefully mentions the Arab Spring as the Middle East fights for stabilized democracies. He makes a point of mentioning Egypt in a bittersweet light but mentions how America will “insist” on demanding fundamental respect for its people. Smart to not mention wars and Axis of Evils there.
10:07PM: If I’m not mistaken, the first mention of the LGBT community was noted when discussing equal treatment for all military members post-service. Great change indeed.
10:08PM: Electoral reform and the second mention of Governor Romney mentioned. I’m very curious what another nonpartisan commission will propose but I’m sure it won’t involve gerrymandering or anything that Rick Scott will propose. Which is a great thing.
10:09PM: President Obama now mentions guns which appears to be the beginning of the end of this speech. Touts how a majority of American support background checks, at the bar minimum. He proposes that every single proposal (including background checks) deserve at least a vote on Congress. Tiptoes around those who vote “no” by saying that it’s okay if you vote no but we need to act now.
10:11PM: President Obama mentions Hadiya Pendleton who was at the inauguration but was the victim of gun violence. The Pendleton family is next to the First Lady and serve as a poignant reminder of how gun violence can affect all. “They deserve a vote”, is completely right of President Obama.
10:12PM: President Obama roars above the crowd that the families of Aurora, Newtown, Gabby Giffords, etc. all “deserve a vote”. Obama concedes that violence will never stop but how politicians (and people I assume) were put on Earth to not be perfect but to make some type of difference and to look out for each other.
10:14PM: Obama now says that Americans should be like great people such as the NYC nurse, Menchu Sanchez or the North Miami woman Desiline Victor who waited in line for countless hours to just vote. Victor, 102, is seated in the crowd and her presence is very impressive and profound. Cool gesture to invite her.
10:15PM: Obama also highlights police officer Brian Murphy who suffered twelve bullet wounds to help victims of the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin this past summer.
10:16PM: Obama ends with: “We are citizens. It’s a word that doesn’t just describe our nationality or legal status. It describes the way we’re made. It describes what we believe. It captures the enduring idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations; that our rights are wrapped up in the rights of others; and that well into our third century as a nation, it remains the task of us all, as citizens of these United States, to be the authors of the next great chapter in our American story.”
Analysis to follow.