Emboldened by the successes of the past seven years, the President took a somewhat nontraditional victory lap in last night’s State of the Union address, the last of his term. Obama employed less of the soaring rhetoric that he is known for and delivered his report card on his administration as well as his vision for the future of the country in a professorial, matter-of-fact way. While the President steered clear of the presidential primary fight in the Democratic Party, he was eager to challenge Republican demagoguery in Congress and on the campaign trail on a host of issues from foreign affairs, healthcare and the economy.
“Let me start with the economy, and a basic fact: The United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world” declared the Obama.
Adding “anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.”
The President also made a veiled reference to Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and the hateful language coming from the GOP field, Obama returned to a constant theme throughout his speech, that only through bipartisanship and finding common ground could elected officials achieve what the American people expected.
“The future we want is within our reach. But it will only happen if we work together. It will only happen if we can have rational, constructive debates. It will only happen if we fix our politics” he said.
Obama addressed GOP accusations that America has lost ground under his leadership and that America is weaker under his approach to foreign policy where he has consistently sought to employ a multilateral approach to world events, much to the consternation of the more hawkish, go-it-alone attitude of the GOP. The President had an answer ready for his critics, employing an example he’s used time and again. “If you doubt America’s commitment—or mine—to see that justice is done, ask Osama bin Laden.”