1.26.2011

Obama's SOTU, Ryan's response, Bachmann's banality

Bachmann delivered her secondary response to the State of the Union speech into the camera of the Tea Party Express, which had invited her to speak and streamed the comments live. It continued during the responses, as CNN – the only news network that had made the decision to air the second, tea party response from Bachmann (R-Minn.) – put a big clock counting down the minutes until her response and then removed it when she got stuck behind the president’s motorcade, thus delaying the speech.

CNN had already made itself the talk of the political world when it announced its decision on Tuesday to air Bachmann’s tea party response, in addition to the official Republican response from Rep. Paul Ryan.

“Every network in the pool had the rights to the signal,” Feist said. One of the more interesting aspects of the night was Fox News’s decision not to air Bachmann’s speech live, but rather run it delayed on “On the Record with Greta van Susteren.” While Fox News was the cable news network most closely aligned with the tea party in the early days (aside from, perhaps, CNBC, who aired Rick Santelli’s original tea party-creating rant), CNN has aggressively moved to both cover and align itself with the tea party over the past year.

Both that decision and Tuesday’s decision to air Bachmann’s response have drawn flak from both the left and the right.

My nerd card was firmly in hand when I raced back to my hotel room to catch my favorite part of the State of the Union address: "Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States!" And then, well, the speech started. Not President Obama's best. Besides, he delivered a boffo speech earlier this month in Tucson.
Still, Obama delivered a decent, albeit non-rousing address while Speaker John Boehner hovered behind him looking like he was either late for a tee time, craving a cigarette (as many on Twitter suspected) or thirsty for a Merlot. Some African Americans have complained bitterly that the president always saves his lectures on parental responsibility for them. In speaking about the deficit commission he created -- and has kind of ignored since it produced a set of recommendations he didn't quite like -- Obama noted that it concluded that "the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it - in domestic spending, defense spending, health-care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes." Catch that? Spending through tax breaks and loopholes. Ending tax breaks and closing loopholes is raising taxes. Before I sign off, let me give props to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who delivered the Republican response to Obama's speech. Bachmann slammed President Obama's policies over the last two years and their failure to drop unemployment below 8 percent as promised. For instance, Bachmann ignored the fiscal calamity that began on Sept. 15, 2008.

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