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The Conversation: Mixed reaction to Obama's State of the Union address

January 25, 2011 | 10:10 pm

SOTU "Mr. Obama's speech offered a welcome contrast to all of the posturing that passes for business in the new Republican-controlled House," wrote the New York Times in an editorial analyzing President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday.

But he didn't say anything specific, complained MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell. "What does 'out-innovate' mean?" he asked.

"Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough was bored.

Meanwhile, New York congresswoman Carolyn Maloney cheered: "I was inspired."

And she wasn't alone. Obama's "Sputnik moment" comment, which was his call for innovation (and spending on it too) took over Twitter as a trending topic.

There were some sour moments, such as this one that David Pakman points out on Opposing Views. "Downright sickening was the lack of Republican applause after President Obama referred to the healthcare reform bill’s eliminating the preexisting conditions exclusions of for-profit health insurance, but sadly I am not surprised, given the recent time-wasting repeal that Republicans orchestrated in the House." Earlier in his article, though, Pakman also suggested that Obama lives in a fantasy land. Sigh...

But overall, Obama was successful in finding common ground. From our editorial "State of the Union: Austerity and innovation": "Cynics would say that, even with post-Tucson amity, bipartisanship is an impossible dream. But there was much in Obama's speech that lent itself to common ground. The state of the union will depend on how seriously his audience takes his appeal for cooperation."

Not that Obama travelled too far to the center. Weighing in, our Op-Ed columnist Doyle McManus wrote: "There's been plenty of talk in Washington this winter about Obama turning himself into a centrist, but judging from Tuesday's speech, he hasn't changed much at all. The president's goals are the same despite new political realities that have forced him to dial them back a bit. Even many of his proposals for reaching his goals are the same. ... The message Obama hopes to send is this: He has a positive strategy for long-term competitiveness and economic growth, and he's an optimist who believes America can rise to the occasion. 'This is our Sputnik moment,' he said. And the Republicans? In the president's telling, they're a bunch of dour budget-cutters in green eyeshades."

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-- Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his annual State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress and the Supreme Court on Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Credit: Jim Watson /AFP/Getty Images

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