But I've gotten spoiled in the past couple of years by the availability of the whole speech online. So much of what a politician does is in his delivery, and even mundane words can sound inspiring if a good speaker pronounces them. It's much easier to see beyond the hype when you just read.
This Associated Press fact check was extremely useful, too. Examples:
OBAMA: Discussing his health care initiative, he said: "Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan."
THE FACTS: The Democratic legislation now hanging in limbo on Capitol Hill aims to keep people with employer-sponsored coverage - the majority of Americans under age 65 - in the plans they already have. But Obama can't guarantee people won't see higher rates or fewer benefits in their existing plans. Because of elements such as new taxes on insurance companies, insurers could change what they offer or how much it costs. Moreover, Democrats have proposed a series of changes to the Medicare program for people 65 and older that would certainly pinch benefits enjoyed by some seniors. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted cuts for those enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans.[...]OBAMA: He called for action by the White House and Congress "to do our work openly, and to give our people the government they deserve."
THE FACTS: Obama skipped past a broken promise from his campaign - to have the negotiations for health care legislation broadcast on C-SPAN "so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies." Instead, Democrats in the White House and Congress have conducted the usual private negotiations, making multibillion-dollar deals with hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders behind closed doors. Nor has Obama lived up consistently to his pledge to ensure that legislation is posted online for five days before it's acted upon.
As expected, Barack Obama’s 70 minute State of the Union address focused heavily on the economy and the domestic political agenda. This was hardly surprising in the aftermath of last week’s catastrophic defeat for his party in the Massachusetts special Senate election, where the Republicans scored an historic victory. American voters are turning strongly against the president’s health care reform package as well as his big government vision for the economy, which has contributed to spiraling public debt and mounting unemployment, now standing at over 10 percent.
But the scant attention paid in the State of the Union speech to US leadership was pitiful and frankly rather pathetic. The war in Afghanistan, which will soon involve a hundred thousand American troops, merited barely a paragraph. There was no mention of victory over the enemy, just a reiteration of the president’s pledge to begin a withdrawal in July 2011. Needless to say there was nothing in the speech about the importance of international alliances, and no recognition whatsoever of the sacrifices made by Great Britain and other NATO allies alongside the United States on the battlefields of Afghanistan. For Barack Obama the Special Relationship means nothing, and tonight’s address further confirmed this.
So Obama didn't say too much about foreign affairs. What he did mention were jobs. Quite a lot, actually:
What Americans want is the simple security of knowing that tomorrow will be better than today, said the President, who cast himself as a fierce defender of the middle class.
Mentioning the word "jobs" 29 times, he asked Congress to join him and make 2010 all about putting people back to work.
"They are hurting. They need our help," he said. "And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay."