I'm ready to live-blog. Keep me company!
8:06 Central Time. The room looks shabby. Why is that? Here's the President. Wan applause. Kissy faces. Biden! He's looking lanky and elderly. Michelle is swathed in — what color purple would you say that is? Eggplant? Aubergine?
8:09. Nancy's in lilac. Purple is the color... if you want to appeal to all the reds and blues of America. Obama's got a red and white — peppermint — striped tie, so I take it he means to reach out to conservatives. But how? They say he's going to ask for the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, but that can't please conservatives. It can't please the Democrats too much either, really — can it? — as they look toward the fall elections.
8:14. The economy sucks. But it could be worse. Obama reads the letters we write him. Letters from children. They want us to set aside partisanship. The people are resilient. And so, "I have never been more hopeful about America's future than I am tonight." First applause line.
8:19. If there's one thing that unites us, it's that we all hated the bank bailout. He talks about the bank fee, which he characterizes as a way of recovering the part of the bailout that has not yet been paid back. I've never understood that, and I don't understand it now. And it's hardly bipartisan, is it?
8:23. He's making big claims about having cut taxes and creating huge numbers of jobs. I don't believe it, but Obama is telling me that I should talk to some small business owner in Phoenix whose name I didn't quite catch. Didn't give the phone number though.
8:26. Small businesses are good. (Come on, talk to them.) Big business sucks though. We want to help small business grow... so it can become big business and then we can hate it.
8:29. China has better trains.
8:31. Biden was smiling a toothy grin but now he's all frowny-face and I'm afraid he's going to cry. Is it because other countries are better than we are? Did Obama call us losers?
8:33. It's time to get serious about solving problems. Like, before? We were clowning around.
8:35. Nuclear power plants! Off-shore oil-drilling! Yay! Really? It's mixed in with a lot of "clean energy" and "climate" talk.
8:38. Let's export more stuff.
8:41. Hey, kids! Do your homework!
8:42. $10,000 in tax credits for college (for the whole 4 years?). And you'll only have to pay 10% of your income, at the most, to pay back your college loans. After 20 years of that, any remaining debt is forgiven.
8:44. Why the hell did I get bogged down in health care reform!?
8:45. Michelle. Oh, my! What does that expression on her face mean? I get a chill and imagine she hates him. I'll go back and get a photograph of this later.
8:47. Obama takes his "share" of the blame.
8:49. We're "in a fiscal hole." Here's the part about freezing spending.
8:55. Were they laughing at him?
8:56. "Let's try common sense. A novel concept." A laugh line that is a confession of past incompetence.
8:57. He's bitching about the Supreme Court — about the Citizens United case — while the Justices are sitting right in front of him. They all look pretty poker-faced, except Samuel Alito who mouths some words. I'll have to go back and try to lip read that. [ADDED: People are reading it as "not true" and comparing that to last year's "You lie."]
9:00. Obama doesn't like the way politicians are always being politicians. "I will not give up on trying to change the tone of our politics... We still need to govern." And "we" — meaning, divisively, the Democrats — have the majority and people expect us to get things done. So the Republicans shouldn't be obstructing. Get it? Be bipartisan. Let's show everybody that "we" — and this time he means the nice, docile Republicans — are able to get things done.
9:04. He doesn't want to "relitigate" the past. What litigation was there in the past? He's referring to the old arguments about who's tougher on national security. He doesn't want us to talk about that anymore. Just accept that we all care about America. Hear that, Republicans? Don't use your strongest issue in this election year.
9:14. We're gonna repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell. And give women equal pay for equal work. And fix immigration.
9:15. "It's our ideals — our values — that built America."
9:17. "No wonder there's so much cynicism out there. No wonder there's so much disappointment." Meade says: "Uh oh. Malaise."
9:19. He didn't say that hope and change would be easy. Yeah. He just said hope and change. And we bought it.
9:21. He's started talking about particular kids, so the end must be near. Oh, yikes, now, clearly, the end is nigh because he's yelling. I mean... getting all inspirational. "A new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don't quit. I don't quit." Yeah, him quitting would have been really weird! "Let's seize this moment. To start anew. To carry the dream forward. And to strengthen our union once more."
9:31. I check Site Meter to see what SOTU-related searches are bringing people to this blog. It's basically all about why everyone is wearing purple. Ha ha.
9:34. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell gives the Republican response in the Virginia State House, which looks great. We're told it was designed by Thomas Jefferson. A nice backdrop.
9:37. The federal government is simply trying to do too much. We need to "reconsider and restore the proper limited role of government at every level."
9:40. We're blessed with natural resources "and we must use them all."
9:44. "Top-down one-size fits all decision making should not replace the personal choices of free people in a free market, nor undermine the proper role of state and local governments in our system of federalism. As our Founders clearly stated, and we Governors understand, government closest to the people governs best."
9:46: About Haiti, McDonnell directly thanks Americans: "Thank you for your ongoing compassion."