Obama's State of Union Message: 'Game On'

Pundits see president's speech as a populist offensive

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 25, 2012 7:42 AM CST

(Newser) – President Obama delivered a feisty, populist State of the Union address last night (excerpts here, pictures here), and naturally pundits are dissecting and grading it today. Here's what they're saying:

  • "Obama had a simple message for Republicans: Game on," writes Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post. What on the surface was a typical post-partisan Obama speech was actually full of populist challenges to Republicans. "This is Obama version 2.0: Harder, more cynical but perhaps also more effective."

  • Noted "Obamacon" Andrew Sullivan was disappointed, trashing the speech as a hodge-podge of liberal policies. "I was hoping for a vision. I was hoping for real, strategic reform," he lamented in his Daily Beast liveblog. "We voted for Obama; now we find we got another Clinton."
  • Steve Kornacki of Salon dubs it Obama's "99% speech," because the president drew battle lines around income inequality. "He's embracing the idea that there is [a] fundamental philosophical divide between the parties," convinced that it's "political suicide" to attempt compromise with intractable Republicans.
  • Mark Halperin of Time gives the speech a "B," saying that Obama "achieved a good balance between lofty and accessible" and was "fully in command of policy," but that "the speech was clearly poll-tested to within an inch of its life."

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012.
President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012.   (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)
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Highlights from the State of the Union address   (CNN)

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