4 Takes on Obama's Final SOTU

Inspirational for some, exasperating for others
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2016 2:30 AM CST
Updated Jan 13, 2016 6:19 AM CST
4 Takes on Obama's Final SOTU
President Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

President Obama delivered the final State of the Union address of his presidency on Tuesday night, looking back at the last seven years and offering his vision of America's future. Here's what the pundits are saying:

  • The word "Trump" wasn't spoken, but the speech, with its calls to "reject any politics that targets people because of race [or] religion" and praise of America's economic progress "felt like a point-by-point refutation of the worldview" put forward by Donald Trump since he launched his presidential bid, writes Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post. Obama, with his insistence that America is already great, cast Trump as "simply the latest in a long line of fear peddlers at a time of national anxiety," he writes.

  • This could be considered "a reasonable, albeit liberal, and even uplifting State of the Union Address," but only by those who knew nothing of the last seven years of Obama's presidency, according to Jonah Goldberg at the conservative National Review, who blasts Obama for years of "unrelenting presidential condescension, insults, and cynicism." Goldberg took particular exception to how Obama "celebrated his ridiculous and dangerous Iran deal" and yet failed to mention the capture of 10 US soldiers by Iran that occurred prior to the speech.
  • Michael Crowley at Politico also noticed that Obama praised his Iran deal without mentioning the latest incident. It was another "mismatch between Obama's vision and the experience of most Americans," he writes, criticizing Obama for talking about successes like closer ties with Cuba while "skimming over or skipping entirely several major global headaches" like Afghanistan and the Syrian civil war.
  • Obama's final SOTU was an inspirational call to America's better nature—and to those who "yearn for more civility" in politics, according to the New York Times editorial board. Obama's speech was a reminder that "the optimism that made him the first African-American president and then the resilience that helped the nation weather economic and global crises over the past seven years are what position it best for the future," the board writes.
(In the GOP response, Nikki Haley also took a swipe at Trump.)

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