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“America is Back” says Obama in State of the Union Address

 

If you had plans to watch your favorite network television series last night, you figured out quickly it was pre-empted by the President’s 2012 State of the Union Address. Whether you watched the live broadcast, streaming video, or followed the #SOTU hash tag on Twitter, then you’re well aware of the issues addressed in the President’s speech, including the economy, jobs, taxes, healthcare, and immigration reform, to name a few.

Having watched the live broadcast while simultaneously monitoring social media, it’s evident in the high volume mentions that Americans took to Twitter to voice their opinion during the President’s speech.

The President opened by proudly announcing his welcoming home the last troops returning from the war in Iraq in mid-December, which marked the end of a bitterly divisive war that raged for nearly nine years.

“There are no Americans fighting in Iraq for the first time in nine years. And for the first time in two decades, Osama Bin Laden is not a threat to this country.”

He shared optimism about a better economy after war and compared it to World War II, when the troops returned and built the strongest economy the world had ever known.

“If you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and even put some away.”

The President proclaimed that the defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent, no debate is more important, but we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone plays by the rules.

There’s no denying the economy has been top of mind for most Americans, but what issue was most talked about during last night’s Presidential address? Looking at eight different issues in Visible Intelligence, it shows “taxes” got the largest share of voice, followed by “clean energy” and “equal pay for women”. I’d venture to guess the majority of these tweets came from women, as I, too, am all for the idea of equal pay for equal work.

Another interesting topic that garnered a large volume of mentions, but not a whole lot of laughter, was the President’s joke about “spilled milk”, making reference to a rule from 40 years ago that could have forced dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year for proving they could contain a spill (like an oil spill).

 

Twitter commentary was a mix of criticism, highlights, and praises of the President’s speech, but if there was one thing last night that brought Democrats and Republicans together, it was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. There was real unanimity and emotion around her as she resigned from the House today to focus on her recovery after the near-fatal shooting just over a year ago in Arizona.

As the SOTU came to a close, I couldn’t help but feel that the hour-long speech had a very distinct focus on the middle-class and their continued struggles to remain afloat in these economic times. As we enter the election year, the President’s ideas are not going to be judged on last night’s address, but rather the results that come from it. The campaign for re-election truly now begins in earnest.

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