Live Blog of Obama’s Not Quite State of the Union Address
9:03 p.m. Just tuning in… big applause for Justice Ginsberg, just back from surgery for her cancer
9:04 First Lady Michelle Obama enters to solid applause, gives some love to Joe Biden, a solider who has joined them in the gallery and waves to the crowd
9:05 The cabinet enters. Hillary! Geithner! Salazar with no cowboy hat! Gates! I’m always amazed at how much the beginning of these speeches resembles the announcing of a starting line up for a basketball game. We need Chicago Bulls announcer Ray Clay and “Sirius” from the Alan Parsons Project.
Rahmbo! Orszag! Susan Rice! Jim Jones!
9:10 Obama can be seen in the background. “Madame Speaker! The President of the United States!”
Obama’s all smiles, shaking hands, looking loose. Reid and Hoyer are in tow, as are Boehner and McConnell.
Obama has his movie star vibe on. Spreading good love all around. Hugs to Jesse Jackson III and John Lewis. A nice aside with Orrin Hatch. Kiss to Hillary. Handshakes to the SCOTUS members and a hug to Justice Ginsberg.
On to the Joint Chiefs and now up to the podium to greet Biden and Pelosi.
Obama’s first words to the crowd and now it’s time to do the damn thing….
9:16 Obama presented by Pelosi to standing ovation.
9:17 Shout out to Michelle. She gets a standing O.
9:18 Right into the recession talk:
If you haven’t been personally affected by this recession, you probably know someone who has – a friend; a neighbor; a member of your family. You don’t need to hear another list of statistics to know that our economy is in crisis, because you live it every day. It’s the worry you wake up with and the source of sleepless nights. It’s the job you thought you’d retire from but now have lost; the business you built your dreams upon that’s now hanging by a thread; the college acceptance letter your child had to put back in the envelope. The impact of this recession is real, and it is everywhere.
The “we will recover” line gets the first speech standing O of the evening.
9:21 “Short term gains were prized over long term solutions”.
9:22 Bohner looks bored, Cantor looks alseep.
“It’s an agenda that begins with jobs.”
9:23: Judd Gregg cut shot. He looks dazed.
First semi-divided applause of the night, lots of GOP’ers sitting, but I think I saw a few up on their feet.
95% of Americans will receive a tax cut. April 1, baby!
Highlights extended unemployment benefits while McConnell looks like someone farted in his general vicinity.
McCain cut shot. He looks either full of himself or actually happy to be there.
9:25: “Nobody messes with Joe!”
9:27: Trying to calm any idea of a run on the banks. “Your money is secure”.
Addressing the frozen credit markets. “Credit has stopped flowing the way it should.”
A new lending fund to help with college and auto loans. Event getting some Reps up for that proposal.
Next, housing. Refinance now, bitches!
9:30 Bank bailout…full rise for holding banks accountable for lending practices. Cut shot to The Last Honest Man.
9:31 “Those days are over,” (no free money for banks)
9:33 “My job, our job, is to solve the problem.” “It’s not about helping banks, it’s about helping people.”
LOL on the cut shot of Roland Burris. Never have I seen a more “happy to be here” face.
9:34 Regulation reform.
9:35 As Obama moves to budget, cut shot to Orszag.
9:37 Running down the historical checklist of how government has addressed major periods of turmoil by fostering innovation leads to big applause for the G.I. Bill (nice cut to Shenseki).
Gov’t helped create conditions for capitalism to take off.
9:38 The priorities: Energy, Health Care and Education.
Congress: Send me a bill with a carbon cap and renewable energy financing. Promises $15 billion for renewable energy.
“The nation that invented the automobile can not walk away from it.”
9:42 Health Care.
9:43 SCHIP gets loves from the Dems and a scattered few Republicans.
Money for cancer research gets applause. Big chunk of change going to be set aside for preventative care.
Affordable care is needed for everyone. Cut shot to Dick Luger giving some polite applause.
Bipartisan comm. on health care to meet next week. Call to action quote on health care:
I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough. So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.
Competitive education must be made available to all children.
School reform…incentives for teacher performance. Expanded commitment to charter schools.
Asking Americans to commit to at least one year of post high school education, be it community college, 4 year university, or trade school.
2020: Ambitious goal: Highest percentage of college graduates in the world.
Hatch/Kennedy bill on public service. Cut shot to a very enthusiastic Rep. Patrick Kennedy.
9:51 Parental responsibility is key.
“We cannot pass on to them a debt we cannot pay.”
“I know we can get some consensus in here.” (laughs in the chamber)
9:52 Calls for eliminating no bid contracts, non-performing school programs, and payments to agribusiness. Also will cut funding for outdated defense spending.
Might be the read my lips line for Obama; no tax increases on families who make less than $250,000…better hope he can deliver. Here’s the passage:
But let me perfectly clear, because I know you’ll hear the same old claims that rolling back these tax breaks means a massive tax increase on the American people: if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime. In fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut – that’s right, a tax cut – for 95% of working families. And these checks are on the way.
9:56 Social Security and Medicare.
The war budgets are on the books officially.
9:57 McCain seems incredulent on calls to end the war as he whispers sweet nothings in Susan Collins’ ear.
9:59 Raise pay and expand health care to active and retired service
10:00 Closing of Gitmo. “Living our values doesn’t make us weaker. It makes us stronger.”
“The United States of America does not torture.” Standing O from the entire chamber.
10:04 Applause for Florida bank exec who cashed out his stake and repaid to all of his former employees.
10:06 Nice story about the student from South Carolina. “We are not quitters”.
10:07 The full close:
“These words and these stories tell us something about the spirit of the people who sent us here. They tell us that even in the most trying times, amid the most difficult circumstances, there is a generosity, a resilience, a decency, and a determination that perseveres; a willingness to take responsibility for our future and for posterity.
Their resolve must be our inspiration. Their concerns must be our cause. And we must show them and all our people that we are equal to the task before us.
I know that we haven’t agreed on every issue thus far, and there are surely times in the future when we will part ways. But I also know that every American who is sitting here tonight loves this country and wants it to succeed. That must be the starting point for every debate we have in the coming months, and where we return after those debates are done. That is the foundation on which the American people expect us to build common ground.
And if we do – if we come together and lift this nation from the depths of this crisis; if we put our people back to work and restart the engine of our prosperity; if we confront without fear the challenges of our time and summon that enduring spirit of an America that does not quit, then someday years from now our children can tell their children that this was the time when we performed, in the words that are carved into this very chamber, “something worthy to be remembered.” Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.”