Conspicuously absent from Obama’s State of the Union was any mention of Guantánamo Bay or the 166 detainees still stuck there. Eli Lake reports on the president’s broken promise.
Rubio put a kind, nonscary (and nonwhite) face on a party dealing with an image problem—and seemed to have dry mouth with his reach for water. The Tea Party’s Paul was edgier and feistier with remarks that will please his base, says Michelle Cottle.
Joe McLean loves his old Hawken hunting rifle. He’s defended himself with a firearm against a burglar. His dad was a great quail shot. But assault weapons? That’s absurd.
Listening to President Obama on Tuesday night, I was struck by how the debate on guns has changed. Born and raised on a cotton farm in deep-red Tennessee, a son of the South, I grew up hunting and fishing with my father, who was reputed to be the finest quail shot in Crockett County. As a younger man, I was forced to defend my home in the middle of the night with a firearm. The burglar was a career criminal, just out of prison after robbing a liquor store with a sawed-off shotgun. The cops knew him by name when they came to get him. I was lucky.
Gun dealer Mel Bernstein takes down an AK-47 assault rifle from a sales rack at his own Dragonman’s shooting range and gun store in Colorado Springs earlier this month. (Brennan Linsley/AP)
We asked Daily Beast readers for one-word reactions to President Obama’s State of the Union address. Here’s what you said.
President Obama delivered the first State of the Union of his second term Tuesday night, and by the looks of it, Daily Beast readers liked it.
Shortly after the hourlong speech ended, we asked our Facebook fans for one-word reactions, and 1,174 of you weighed in. Using Tagxedo, an online application that converts text into word clouds, we arranged your responses into an America-shaped visual representation. (Keep in mind the geographical location of the words bears no meaning. Also, larger words indicate that multiple people used that term to describe the speech.)
Twitter was in its element Tuesday night during President Obama’s second State of the Union address, with strong voices both supporting and opposing his proposals. See The Daily Beast’s favorite tweets.
While hitting Obama on big government.
Opposing Obama sure can make you thirsty. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio delivered the GOP response to the president’s State of the Union on Tuesday night, attacking Obama on taxes and government spending—but Rubio earned instant Internet fame for taking a drink of water during the televised speech. Rubio's furtive sip became an instant meme (Deadspin has it here in extreme slow motion), and Rubio moved quickly to own it, tweeting a photo of the water bottle after the speech. Asked about the water break on Good Morning America, Rubio said “God has a funny way of reminding us we’re human.”
Is Congress really to blame for the looming sequester? Has manufacturing really shot up under President Obama? The Daily Beast sifts through the Internet’s best fact checks to assess the State of the Union claims.
Tuesday night, President Obama said the state of the union is strong. But how strong were all of his claims? Let’s take a look at what the Internet’s best fact checkers have to say about the President’s speech.
“I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.”
The president enlisted victims and survivors of tragedies like Newtown and Aurora to put a human face on his powerful and effective appeal for action on gun violence, says Eleanor Clift.
Emotion matters in politics, and President Obama drew on an ample well of it in the service of his proposals to curb gun violence. Seated in first lady Michelle Obama’s box were powerful symbols of the nation’s ongoing struggle with guns. There was a teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 first graders and six teachers were gunned down, a police officer who took a dozen bullets when he was first on the scene to confront a shooter at a Sikh temple, and the parents of a Chicago teenager gunned down in a park just a mile from Obama’s house—days after she performed in his inaugural parade.
The teen’s name was Hadiya Pendleton, and Obama recalled how the 15-year-old girl loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette and on her way to a bright future when her life was cut tragically short, one of the “more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries … stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun” in the two months since Newtown. Urging Congress “to come together to protect our most precious resource—our children,” Obama said he knows this is not the first time the country has debated how to reduce gun violence. “But this time is different,” he said.
Michelle Obama stepped out for the State of the Union address in a black and crimson dress by Jason Wu, who is shaping up to be her very own Oleg Cassini.
And Jason Wu takes the FLOTUS prize again. It may have taken nearly two hours to identify the designer of Michelle Obama’s State of the Union attire on Tuesday night, but post-speech, the news came that Wu was the creator of the First Lady’s shimmering cocktail dress. Around 9pm, Obama emerged in the House of Representatives wearing an empire-waist oxblood and black A-line dress made of a tweed fabric, which she accessorized with an Alexis Bittar floral pin and still-intact bangs. Her dress’s neckline and armholes were trimmed with leather cording, and the frock’s lack of sleeves accentuated Obama’s famously buff arms.
The dress may have received mixed reviews from the twittersphere (the Wall Street Journal even questioned its political affiliation) but it stumped fashion experts as well. During President Obama’s first term, Mrs. Obama was known to endorse a wide array of young American labels, jumping between designers like Thakoon, Wes Gordon, Narciso Rodriguez, and Isabel Toledo, to name a few. Wu was, of course, one of her first major picks, having designed the ivory chiffon floor-length gown that Obama wore to her husband’s first inaugural ball. She wore the designer’s clothes many times thereafter, but not to as many consecutive high-profile events as she has in the past month.
In his State of the Union address, the president backed away from policy prescriptions and used GOP rhetoric on immigration. He—and the lawmakers key to legislative success—know now’s the time to push a reform deal through.
President Obama is at a moment of maximum political leverage. But for all the bipartisan framing of his State of the Union speech, the basic fact of divided government makes legislative progress difficult.
Nine-year-old Mukal Verma from India listens to the National Anthem during a citizenship ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center on February 12, 2013, in Chicago. (Scott Olson/Getty)
Republicans have long failed to acknowledge the injustice faced by blacks, gays, and Latinos—which is what Marco Rubio did in his response to the president’s speech, says Peter Beinart.
To understand why Democrats are doing better than Republicans in an America that less and less resembles an episode of Father Knows Best, just compare President Obama’s State of the Union address with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s response. Rubio flaunted his immigrant and working-class roots, but biography aside, he told the same story about America that the GOP has been telling for decades.
Flanked by Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R), President Barack Obama (C) delivers his State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, February 12, 2013, in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty)
The president offered real talk on climate change, called for tax and entitlement reforms and a minimum-wage hike, and urged action on gun violence in his fourth State of the Union address. WATCH VIDEO.
Time for Reform
The president pivoted from deficit reduction to increasing demand—with a surprising call for a higher minimum wage.
What does it take for a Democratic president to start talking like a Democrat about economic issues? Two big presidential election wins, apparently. For when it comes to economics, President Obama delivered a center-left speech for a center-left economic country.
Vice President Joe Biden applauds as President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (Charles Dharapak/AP)
Read the president’s executive order and policy directive on cybersecurity.
The president used his State of the Union address to vow to protect working-class Americans. But he had to compete with a violent confrontation in California.
President Obama used his State of the Union to pivot back to the economy, saying he wants to protect “senior citizens” and “working families” from bearing the brunt of budget-cutting, but the Washington ritual was nearly overshadowed by a California crime drama.
By the time Obama called for generating enough jobs for “a thriving middle class” on Tuesday night, he found himself sharing the television stage as the cable news networks blanketed a shootout at Big Bear with accused cop-killer Christopher Dorner that left one police officer dead and another wounded. It was a split-screen moment reminiscent of Bill Clinton delivering his 1997 State of the Union during the verdict in O.J. Simpson’s civil trial—and all the more surreal since Obama talked about gun violence after the Big Bear cabin in which Dorner was hiding went up in flames.
How do you snag a seat next to Michelle Obama during tonight’s big speech? Be a walking manifestation of the president’s agenda.
Wonder what issues President Obama will focus on during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address? Look no further than the first family’s personal guest list.
Guests applaud first Lady Michelle Obama during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 24, 2012. Front row, from left: Adm. William McRaven, Jackie Bray, Obama, retired Capt. Mark Kelly and Jill Biden. Second row, from left: Bruce Cochrane, Eric Schneiderman, Juan Jose Redin, Debbie Bosanek, Laurene Powell Jobs and Alicia Boler-Davis. (Susan Walsh/AP)
Chat live with The Daily Beast’s team of political columnists as we watch President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union. We’ll kick things off Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. E.T.
The Daily Beast’s whip-smart team of political columnists will be here this Tuesday a touch after 8:30 p.m. E.T. to chat while we watch President Obama's 2013 State of the Union. Join John Avlon, Michelle Cottle, Mark McKinnon, Michael Tomasky, Howard Kurtz, and your fellow Beast readers in the chat box below.
The president pivoted from deficit reduction to increasing demand—with a call for a higher minimum wage, says Daniel Gross.
In response to Obama, Marco Rubio put a nonscary (and nonwhite) face on the GOP, seemingly battling dry mouth in his reach for water, says Michelle Cottle.
How do you snag a seat next to Michelle Obama at the State of the Union? Be a walking manifestation of the president’s agenda.
Speaker John Boehner could barely be bothered to stand up and clap, let alone shake the grimace from his face during the State of the Union.