Takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union address

A majority of Americans say he has not achieved much, and many Democrats are not happy about the prospect of him running for re-election. But when President Joe Biden took to the House chamber for his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, his message was one of unwavering optimism.

Delivering what was widely seen as a test run of his re-election bid, Biden touted progress made during his first two years in office while emphasizing That the work is not finished. The speech had a populist strain rooted in middle-class-vintage Biden reinforcements, but it delivered at a crucial moment for his political future.

No president enters his State of the Union looking to recite a laundry list of accomplishments and proposals, but — almost inevitably — the speech often veers in that direction. Biden was no different, even as the president tried to tie everything together by avoiding “getting the job done.”

However, rather than touting any one achievement, Biden hoped to focus on the national mood, which remains downbeat even as the economy improves and the country tries to return to normalcy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here are two quick takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union:

If there is a political problem, Biden’s advisers are working to fix it quickly, which is why many Americans believe he has achieved little. By all accounts, Biden has passed major, historic pieces of legislation that could have transformative effects on the U.S. economy. But surveys show that the vast majority are not feeling them.

In his speech, Biden hoped to fill that gap, to show how much he cares about Americans and to identify the issues he wants to address.

“My economic plan is about investing in places and people that have been forgotten,” he will say, according to excerpts from his speech released ahead of schedule. “In the midst of the economic downturn of the last four decades, a lot of people have been left behind or treated like they’re invisible. Maybe you’re seeing that at home. You remember the jobs that went away. And you wonder if there’s a way for you and your children to move forward without being moved. I understand.”

Their focus on highly specific issues — like ending “junk fees” for consumers or reining in tech companies — are areas the White House believes will resonate with Americans who don’t necessarily want to in and out of Washington. Compatible with

But Biden and his team are well aware that simply telling people their lives are improving won’t cut it — they have to actually feel it. Many of the accomplishments Biden helped pass over the past two years are still in the implementation phase, making their impact elusive for now.

In a room full of selected officials, identifying an adult should not be difficult. But heading into Tuesday’s speech, both Republican leaders and Biden’s team telegraphed a desire to act as the “adults in the room” of the night — mature voices that seek common ground and lower the temperature. .

For Biden, it’s a role that advisers believe aligns with House Republicans, who they accuse of threatening to send the nation into default and create distractions by investigating the president and his family. .

But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy also vowed to treat Biden with respect in the speech — and urged his Republican colleagues to do the same. That was a tall order, given his loose grip on his conference and the propensity for stunts by some Republicans.

In many ways, both Biden and McCarthy hoped a more mature performance would set the tone for the next two years of divided government, even if they remain sharply divided on policy.

“To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there’s no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress,” he was quoted as saying. “People have sent us a clear message. Fight for fight, power for power, conflict for conflict, we get nowhere.

This is an important story and will be updated.

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