Barack Obama's Speech
Mr Obama used the word "jobs" 16 times and made it the centrepiece of his speech. He wants to take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks has repaid from the financial bailout packages and give it to community banks for small business loans. As well as this specific message, he wanted to prove he understood the frustration and anger of Americans.
HEALTH CARE REFORM:
The speech was initially timed to be a celebration of the signing of a historic health care reform into law. The Massachusetts election changed all that. His pitch was well into the speech and he gave no indication of how he thinks a bill can now be passed.
"Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years ..."
This plan was trumpeted beforehand as a big deal but it got only tepid applause. Liberals believe it will hurt the poor and conservatives view it as too little, too late - affecting only 17 per cent of the overall budget and at $250 billion, representing well under one per cent of projected spending a decade.
DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL:
"This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It's the right thing to do."
This was a surprise. After the setback over health care and grappling with a recession, it might not be wise for Mr Obama to tackle this issue. But the Left is angry and this is one of its most cherished aims. Sceptics will note Mr Obama devoted just 38 words to repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".
The US is engaged in two wars but it wasn't until three-quarters of the way through the speech that he turned to foreign policy. Even then, it was most remarkable for what he didn't say. He gave no rationale for why 30,000 more American troops are now deploying to Afghanistan and made only cursory mention of Iraq. He claimed that Iran was now "more isolated" but did not spell out what he meant by the "growing consequences" Tehran faces if it persists with its nuclear ambitions.
Special thanks to the UK Telegraph.