In his last State of the Union address, President Obama broke from tradition and focused more on larger scale issues than specific policies.
USA Today provides six take-aways from the President’s speech.
The first observation is that Obama did not focus on detailing lists of policy items which likely wouldn’t go very far in his final year as president, especially with a Republican-led Congress.
Obama said he regretted not being able to bridge party lines better. "It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency — that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better,” he said, and then went on to say that if politics are to get better, the system will need to change.
Obama also targeted Republican presidential frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Without actually mentioning either of the candidates, Obama criticized their stance on dealing with the Islamic State and immigration.
Trump, for his part, tweeted that the speech was “really boring, slow, lethargic--very hard to watch!”
In keeping with his focus on large-scale issues, Obama mentioned the issue of climate change, as well as Vice President Biden’s initiative to find a cure for cancer.
Obama also attempted to assuage the nation’s fears that attacks like the Paris terrorist attacks and the San Bernardino shooting were the beginning of a major world conflict. Although he acknowledged that the Islamic State posed a serious threat, he attempted to dispel the heightened fears of further attacks.
The President did not mention the special guests in the first lady’s box, or the first lady herself. In a break from tradition, Obama did not introduce any of the guests, which included a Syrian refugee, an American soldier who stopped a gunman from attacking a passenger train in Europe, and one of the first women to complete the Army’s Ranger School.
Lastly, Obama surprisingly mentioned guns only once, and that only in passing. Although he recently gave a speech about gun violence, the subject was largely absent from his State of the Union address.
Publication date: January 13, 2016