Obama 'Won the Center'
Focus on jobs hit the right note, pundits say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2011 3:44 AM CST
Updated Jan 26, 2011 7:51 AM CST
President Obama is applauded by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner while delivering his State of the Union address   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)

(Newser) – President Obama's second State of the Union address probably won't win over many critics from the left or right, but he did an impressive—at times even Reaganesque—job of pitching to the center, pundits say.

  • "The point wasn't soaring rhetoric or soothing the nation," notes Joshua Green at the Atlantic. The speech seem designed to recast the president's image "as someone who has finally gotten the message that he should be focused on jobs, jobs, jobs."

  • The speech didn't soar, but it charted "ways to get over, under, around and through some of the roadblocks that stand in the way of Obama's policy proposals" on energy, education, and infrastructure," writes Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post.
  • The substance of the speech was "moderate liberalism—we like business, but government has a role, too," writes Jonathan Chait at the New Republic. Obama, he decides, set out his vision of American unity more clearly than he's done before.
  • The theme of the address was "winning the future," but "It also could have been labeled, "winning the center," writes Gerald F. Seib at the Wall Street Journal. The speech, with its focus on the future beyond the economic mess, was "the best illustration yet of how the post-election Barack Obama has repositioned himself" to win back voters who abandoned him in November, he writes.