Obama Goes on the Liberal Defensive

President stressed facing problems head-on
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Feb 25, 2009 9:06 AM CST
President Barack Obama addresses a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber of the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)
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(Newser) – In his speech last night, President Obama outlined an expansive liberal agenda, write John F. Harris and Jonathan Martin in Politico, but packaged it in conservative language, stressing caution and prudence. As if to preempt critics—in what they call a "pre-buttal"—the president invoked “responsibility” 14 times. He swore up and down to be mindful of public unease about bailouts and debt. Promising to face problems we’ve avoided for years, Obama vowed, “We are not quitters.”

It was "by far the most expansive agenda for the national government in decades," they write. "In his words and mood, however, Obama presented this breathtakingly ambitious vision in a way intended to convey caution, moderation, sobriety." Even Obama’s “heroes in the gallery” were examples of responsibility and perseverance: in contrast to President Bush’s spotlight on a family slated for a tax cut, Obama introduced a banker who shared his bonus with his employees.