Pundits Rate the State of the Union

Obama puts up his dukes in feisty speech
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2010 9:47 AM CST

(Newser) – Barack Obama’s first State of the Union Address naturally has all the pundits talking. Here’s what they’re saying:

  • “It was a terrific performance,” writes Joe Klein of Time. “He seemed to be having fun up there,” ad-libbing and needling the “recalcitrant elephants in the room.” There wasn’t a ton of substance, but “the eloquence and sense of purpose was riveting. … He wasn’t cuddly, but who cares?”

  • Obama sounded like a “Bill Clinton-style centrist” last night, writes John Harris of Politico. He looked like “a president who is desperately improvising by touching every political erogenous zone he and his advisers can think of.”
  • Forced to chose whether to swing center, or dig in and fight, Obama chose “all of the above,” trying to please everyone, writes Philip Klein of the American Spectator. But “reality will soon undermine the rhetoric” when he has to make actual decisions.
  • Obama had hoped to be a conciliatory president, but faced with a Republican party bent on unflinching opposition, “he offered himself as a president ready to do battle,” writes EJ Dionne in the Washington Post. “We don’t quit,” thundered Obama. “I don’t quit.”

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