The United States Presidential Seal
Tonight President Barack Obama gives his first State of the Union address. Live blogging begins here with the beginning of the speech and the comment section is open. If you want to watch online, cut and paste this url into a new window:
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SOTU begins in 8 minutes.
Well, Hulu’s live stream is almost live. Bob McDonald, Republican governor of VA is said to have the response. Shepherd Smith is hosting the Fox broadcast which is being fed through Hulu.
The speech is to run about 1hr 15 minutes with applause time built in.
9:06- The announcement of the President’s entrance.
9:09- Chris Wallace (not Brit Hume) restates what almost everyone knows: The Democrats sit on the left side of the center aisle, the Republicans sit on the right. This is about as close as we get to the much more entertaining House of Commons debates in England.
9:13- Interesting that we have an African American, a senior citizen and a white woman in this picture for the first time.
9:15- I inherited two wars, a bad economy, etc. [Subtle blaming of Bush here.] 1 in 10 Americans still cannot find work. For those who already knew poverty experienced that much worse. These struggles are why I ran for office.
9:18- People don’t understand why bad behavior on Wall Street is rewarded but hard work on Main Street is not. We face big and difficult challenges.
The President mentions that people want Washington to move beyond partisanship, etc. His introduction sounds a lot like his campaign stump speech.
9:18- The big deal is the economy. Everyone hated the bank bailout? Then why did everyone vote for it? “Too big to fail” without using the term.
9:20- Now he’s pitting himself opposite the very banks he voted to bailout. And most of the people applauding are guilty of the same behavior.
9:21- Apparently, I fall into NONE of the tax cut categories. Applause joke was nice!
Income tax has not been raised on a single person, not a single dime. If this is true, it hasn’t been for the lack of planning to do so.
9:23- Economists on the left and right approve of the Recovery Act.
I don’t know where all the money is going, but what he just described isn’t taking place in Georgia; not, at least, where I live.
I’m not sure a few success stories means the recovery act is working.
A jobs bill? Can the government create jobs? What money does it use to pay wages?
“Government can create the conditions for business to flourish.” I agree. Kind of like Cap and Trade? That kills business.
9:30- $30B of the Wall Street repayment money be given to small business in the form of credit. A new small business tax credit. The hiring of new workers and raises are going to come from the tax payer. Again, where does all this money come from?
Put Americans to work today, building the infrastructure of tomorrow. Our nation was built to compete. Why should Europe or China have the fastest train? Heck, why shouldn’t they?
Protectionist policies for job creation: tax breaks for companies that do not send jobs overseas.
The President wants “a jobs bill on my desk without delay.” The only way to move to full employment is to move forward. We can afford another economic expansion like the last decade.
9:35- Apparently other nations are rebuilding their infrastructure and funding clean energy. China and India? I thought the climate issues were partially because of their expanding economies and lack of clean manufacturing and too many cars hitting the road.
The President is not against banks, he says. Protections need to be in place to financial institutions to take risks that affect the full economy. The House has already passed legislation to this affect. Any legislation must pass the test of real reform or it will be sent back.
[So much for a bill being passed.]
Last year was the largest investment in basic research in history. Much in clean energy. More companies putting more people to work on tax dollars taken from all Americans and borrowed dollars from future Americans.
9:40- “There are some who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change” (much laughter here). American must be the nation that leads in the clean global economy.
We need more exports. We will double our exports over the next five years. That’s the goal; how will it happen? A national export initiative. Reform export controls consistent with national security. Huh?
This has the ring of increased tariffs to it, but I could be wrong. Any trade agreement has to be enforce, he notes. Panama and Columbia are in Asia?
Must invest in skills and education of Americans. Only successful schools are rewarded. [So much for the kids in sorry schools.]
9:45- Passing the community college bill. A $10,000 tax credit for college families and an increase in Pell Grants? [Can we get that going on while I have a kid in college???]
No one should go broke because they chose to go to college.
[Working to lift the value of homes? Last month was one of the lowest rates of existing home resales since they started keeping records.]
Still need health insurance reform. “Let’s clear a few things up.” [Couple of good laugh lines here. I can't help it but every time he starts this I can only think of Al Gore in that SNL debate.]
9:50- Healthcare reform would bring down the deficit $1T over the next two decades. [We're still going to have a deficit that large 20 years from now??]
Millions of people will lose their health insurance this year. The people in “this chamber” should not walk away from these Americans.
President Obama is asking for another look as the approach he has suggested. If anyone from either party has a plan that can cover the seven or so items that he wants addressed, then he will look at it. It’s all for the American people. “Let’s get it done; let’s get it done.”
We are in a massive fiscal hole that healthcare reform alone will not get us out of.
Government spending, Year 2000 saw a budget surplus of $200B dollars. By 2009, there was a $1T deficit with projected $8T over many more years. “All this was before I walked in the door.”
[Apparently, the Republicans don't think so.]
9:55- [The Republicans finally found their feet.] Proposing a 3 years freeze on all discretionary spending beginning 2011. [Now we're talking.] National security, SS, medicare, medicaid will not be affected.
[$250,000 is the magic number for tax increases as it has been.]
The National Fiscal Commission.
[Very typical Obama. When Congress does not act fast enough, he issues an executive order. This is not supposed to be the way of the republic, but many presidents have abused it.]
“Let’s invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt.”
10:00- Deal with lobbyists.
The Supreme Court has opened the floodgates with allowing businesses to spend as much money as they want during elections.
[I think he's right to be concerned about this. Each president is elected by a country in which the number one rated entertainment show on TV is WWE Raw. How smart can we be?]
Calling for earmark reform. Have congress post all earmark requests online.
[Nice joke about his election not bringing "peace and harmony."]
10:05- He’s speaking about the “permanent campaign,” and to the Republican threats to filibuster–now that they actually can.
“The people expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills.” No, Mr. President, the people expect to be heard and have their desires followed. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid need to listen to their boss; he’s really talking to them.
Calling for monthly meetings with Democrat and Republican leadership. “I know you can’t wait,” he says to the Republicans [another very nice joke].
“Let’s reject the false choice between protecting our people and defending our values.” [Probably the best line of the night.] Moving now into issues about homeland security and, it appears, the wars.
10:10- Troops begin to come home in July 2011. Protect the rights of Afghans, men and women alike.
“As we take the fight to Al-qeda, we are leaving Iraq.” This war is ending, and all of our troops are coming home. [General Petraus looks none to happy about that.]
“Our troops have to know they have our respect and gratitude…when they come home.” Largest increase in veterans benefits in decades. [Well, he have more new veterans that we have in decades, for one thing.]
The vision of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan in reducing nuclear weapons. [If nuclear weapons are outlawed, only outlaws will have nuclear weapons.] Heck, at least the man can pronounce the word “nuclear,” and not say “nu-cu-lar.”
Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated. They will face more consequences “that is a promise.”
10:15- New measures to protect from bioterrorism or the spread of disease. We do these things because it is right.
More than 10k Americans helping the nation of Haiti rebuild (along with other from around the world).
[Moving into an encouragement sounding section.]
Strengthened “hate crimes” laws. [None of the military leaders are happy with the President on his repeal of bans on gay people in service. They are sitting as still and stone-like as can be; all six or seven of them, right in front.]
10:20- The government and media are full of honorable men and women who want to see the country prosper.
Cynicism because of arguing on Capitol Hill?
[Perhaps the difficulty is because some believe certain policies are simply wrong or that they are bad government, rather than they are "partisan."]
“We are here because generations of Americans decided to do what was hard.” “Some of our political setbacks are deserved.”
[I'm thinking that he's getting less applause that any recent SOTU. There are extended sections with complete silence in the gallery.]
Ended at about 10:20.
Click here to read a summary and comments on the Republican response.