President Barack Obama’s State of the Union (SOTU) speech was pretty good in my opinion. What did you think? According to the Washington Post, the President’s speech was 6,419 words, and it lasted about an hour.
At the beginning, everyone in the House chambers seemed so friendly. During the speech Speaker of the House John Boehner seemed unhappy to be there. He could not even stand when the President recognized Desiline Victor who at 102 years old stood in line for hours to vote.
And he is the Speaker of the House…
Obama’s speech touched on the subjects that everyone pretty much thought he would talk about (Afghanistan, immigration, jobs, and the economy). He did push for an increase in the minimum wage to $9.00 and he also talked about making it easier to vote.
Obama did briefly mention nuclear weapons saying, “We’ll engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals.” On Monday White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had said Obama’s “commitment to arms control, and nuclear reduction is well-known, but I do not anticipate a new announcement in the State of the Union address.”
So while the President did not say, “We’ll cut 200 more nukes” he did give missile base supporters a little something to be alarmed about. Those alarms were covered by the Great Falls Tribune on Wednesday. The Montana Congressional delegation’s failure to obtain a seat on a military/defense committee means about all they can do is send letters and request meetings.
Obama’s speech seemed to build and build until there’s a subject toward the end where the audience explodes in applause – that happened last night when he talked about gun violence and how the victims, like Hadiya Pendleton the 15 year-old Chicago girl who performed in the inauguration and then was gunned down a week later. He brought these tragedies to light when he said:
Hadiya’s parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote. They deserve a vote. Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence – they deserve a simple vote. They deserve a simple vote.
You know what? They do deserve a vote. The bills may not pass, but they at least deserve a vote.
The Republican Response:
I was not going to pay too much attention to the Republican response by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and I was busy reading Twitter when my wife said, “He’s wiping his sweat.”
Rubio’s speech was kind of like driving by a car wreck – you don’t want to see it but you look any way.
It got more interesting after that and most of the substance of his speech was lost between the wiping of sweat and then going off camera to grab the bottle of water and taking a quick swig – which seemed to be an attempt to not be seen drinking the water. Maybe Rubio was thinking, “If I duck down lower they won’t see me.” I do applaud him for keeping his eyes on the teleprompter.
It even looks like the Republican “Savior” gets thirsty! This should soon become a classic Saturday Night Live skit.
When it (the gulp) happened there were about 9,200 tweets per minute according to Twitter and reported by USA Today which also shows the video with Rubio drinking water in slow motion. Now we have several Twitter accounts like “Rubio Water Bottle” popping up.
Giving speeches when there’s no live audience is different (no pauses for applause). Rubio and his handlers should have known this and practiced with the lights and camera on to work out any problems. Following Barack Obama is a monumental task, too. There’s nobody in the GOP camp who can give speeches like him.
Now Rubio is a joke and nobody remembers the substance of his speech.
Follow Jack on Twitter @TheWesternWord