6th longest SotU!) was not the soaring rhetoric we have come to expect from him, and he didn't spend too much time being Professor Obama. In the end, Obama's speech was a very real and sober conversation, complete with sarcasm, irony, and even a few jokes. He made it very clear that his focus this year would be on the economy and creating jobs. He also made it clear that the partisan bickering inside Washington would not do:
"Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We do not allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it's time the American people get a government that matches their decency, that embodies their strength."
I noticed that healthcare did not show up until halfway through the speech, but it served as a pivot to another theme of the night: the partisanship in Washington. Obama has spent much time this past year trying to get Republicans on board, to get them to vote for his policies. For the most part, it hasn't worked. Obama's major piece of economic legislation, the Recovery Act, was passed largly along a party vote. He used his State of the Union to implore Congress to try again, take another look at the plans he is proposing. Whether that will help pass his domestic policy agenda remains to be seen.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan was the designated survivor this year.
For the fashion inclined.....
First Lady Michelle Obama looked lovely in a plum colored Issac Mizrahi outfit. Purple was a popular color last night; Senator Boxer, Speaker Pelosi, and Dr. Jill Biden all wore shades of purple, and Rep. Boehner and the Vice President donned purple ties.
It wasn't the best speech he's made, nor the worst. But it was straightforward and real, and that's worth something.