State of the Union: How Did Obama Do?

Obama reached for the center, as Congress' "prom night" seating chart led to a civil, if subdued, reception. Will it help the Dems? Did Paul Ryan break through? Mark McKinnon, Meghan McCain, Eliza Griswold, and other Daily Beast contributors weigh in. PLUS: Watch video of the speech.

01.25.11 11:22 PM ET

A Triumphantly Unmemorable Address
By Tunku Varadarajan

Obama’s speech shows he is a man newly aware of his limitations. Tunku Varadarajan on why that’s a good thing.



Obama Tries Out Bill Clinton's Message
By Peter Beinart

Facing a Republican majority, the president had to drop his campaign-era themes for this State of the Union and pick up Clinton’s—talking about “winning the future” to underscore his energy and youth. And it worked.



A Grownup Speech to Please Folks at Home, Not Pundits
By Howard Kurtz

President Obama offered the GOP an olive branch on health care and Reagan-style optimism in an address that didn’t satisfy the talking heads—but will be seen by many Americans as common sense.



Longing for Partisanship!
By Eleanor Clift

Obama’s speech was calm, pro-business, and devoid of big ideas. Eleanor Clift on why the State of the Union failed to inspire.



Ducking the Tough Issues
By Mark McKinnon

Obama admirably talked up tort reform and a spending freeze. But the speech was flat, and the ideas fell short of the kind of change America needs.



Lawmakers React
By Benjamin Sarlin

Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Kristi Noem and more lawmakers from every part of the political spectrum share their takes on Obama’s speech with Benjamin Sarlin.



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Obama’s Speech from the Future
By Jeremy McCarter

With a unifying message and an audience integrated along party lines, Jeremy McCarter says Obama’s speech delivered on his campaign promise and showed, however briefly, that lawmakers are human.



Fixing What Needs to Be Fixed
By Eliza Griswold

President Obama’s speech touched on the terrible state of America’s infrastructure. Eliza Griswold on what repairing it will cost—and where he fell short.



President Obama Seizes the Center
By John Avlon

Channeling Reagan and Clinton, the president set about establishing a tone and a direction for the next two years—restoring America's economic competitiveness writes John Avlon.



Nice Rhetoric, but Need Real Results
By Meghan McCain

Meghan McCain says President Obama struck high notes on civility but failed to get concrete and show how he’ll make his promises actually happen.



Photos: The State of the Union

Pablo Martinez Monsivais