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Wednesday, January 21, 2015
657 Days Until Election Day 2016It's Wednesday, January 21, 2015, I'm Gabe Fleisher for this post-SOTU edition of Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
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State of the Union 2015
- Analysis President Obama delivered his shortest State of the Union address Tuesday (in amount of words), and spent a lot of the time touting his successes. In a speech usually used to unveil new proposals for the next year, Obama instead stuck with rhetoric in his sixth State of the Union.
- In the sweeping phrases he is known to deliver, President Obama proclaimed Tuesday that the “shadow of crisis” had passed in America, and it was time to “turn the page”.
- Instead of diving into the nitty-gritty of economic proposals, Obama unveiled a sweeping agenda Tuesday – and very few actual new ideas. Many of the proposals he did announce are very controversial and unlikely to pass Congress, including two years of free community college for eligible students, raising the minimum wage, lowering mortgage premiums, improving access to cheaper broadband Internet, improved identity theft protection, required sick leave of seven days for workers, , methane gas emission regulations, a resolution authorizing force against ISIS, a data-driven medicine initiative, and called for tax credits for education and child care while raising taxes on banks and wealthy Americans.
- As usual, President Obama called for “better politics” and expanded on his vision of America as “more than a collection of red states and blue states,” that we are the United States.
- In addition to being the night of his sixth State of the Union address, for President Obama, Tuesday was the beginning of his seventh year in office. With just two years left, this is the “fourth quarter,” as he called it, for Obama to get things done. However, Republicans will remain in Congress for the next two years – making nearly all of his few proposals unlikely to gain passage.
- Obama noted Tuesday that he had no more campaigns to run (“I know because I won both of them.”), but his State of the Union speech sounded a lot like a stump speech. President Obama put an inspiring foot forward, and spoke of quite a liberal and ambitious agenda for the next two years. The challenge: can it be achieved?
- Word Count With the prepared text at 6,493 words, Obama delivered his shortest State of the Union on Tuesday. In the hour-long speech, however, some words stuck out. Here’s how many times these words were mentioned:
- Guantanamo 0
- Ebola 1
- Ferguson 1
- Instagram 1
- Pipeline 1
- Pizza 1
- Putin 1
- Immigration 2
- ISIL 2
- Veto 3
- Climate 4
- Oil 4
- Diplomacy 6
- Middle Class 7
- Politics 7
- Terrorists 7
- Wage(s) 7
- State(s) 12
- Congress 13
- Tonight 13
- Economy 18
- Job(s) 28
- Year(s) 41
- I 54
- America(n)(ns) 76
- We 132
- First for Everything Here are some words mentioned for the first time in a State of the Union address last night:
- TransgenderWhite House Watch
- The President’s Schedule At 10:20 AM Eastern Time, President Obama will depart the White House, arriving in Boise, Idaho at 1:20 PM Mountain Time.
- At 1:45, Obama tours the New Product Development Lab at Boise State University’s Micron Engineering Center.
- At 3 PM Mountain Time, President Obama will speak at Boise State University. He is expected to expand on the request he made last night for more research money. This is the first day of post-State of the Union travel traditionally done by Presidents to sell the ideas they pitch in the address.
- At 4:15 local time, the President will leave Boise, Idaho, arriving in Topeka, Kansas at 7:40 PM Central Time. Obama will stay the night in Topeka; he speaks in Lawrence, Kansas tomorrow.
- Big Block of Cheese Day As part of the White House digital outreach following the State of the Union, Administration officials will take part in “Big Block of Cheese Day”.
- Big Block of Cheese Day was coined by (fictional) White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, played by the great John Spencer in “The West Wing,” a day when White House staffers would meet with the “voiceless”. Which meant meetings with the Organization of Cartographers for Social Equality, advocates of a wolves-only highway, and a UFO conspiracy theorist. This was all in the spirt of President Andrew Jackson, who had a 1,400-pound block of cheese in the main foyer of the White House, and invited thousands of citizens to come and discuss policy with his staff.
- Now, the White House - the real one, not Andrew Jackson or Jed Bartlet's, but Barack Obama's - is doing it. The Obama's Administration's second annual Virtual Big Block of Cheese Day is today, a way for the White House to answer questions from the public a day after President Obama's sixth annual State of the Union address. All day, White House officials will be answering questions sent in via Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram using #AskTheWH. The forum lasts from 10 AM to 6 PM Eastern Time and will be live-streamed at www.whitehouse.gov/sotu; topics will rotate, as will a cast of characters set to include White House Senior Advisors Valerie Jarrett and Dan Pfeiffer, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, White House Communications Director Jen Palmieri, Second Lady Jill Biden, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, and Secretary of State John Kerry.
- Fans of “The West Wing” can further rejoice because the announcement video included a reunion of cast members, including President Jed Bartlet, Press-Secretary-turned-Chief of Staff C.J. Cregg, Personal Aide to the President Charlie Young, Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman, Communications Director Toby Zeigler, Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Will Bailey, and National Security Advisor Kate Harper...or the actors that played them anyways.
- Huckabee Book Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR)’s latest book came out Tuesday, titled “God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy”. Huckabee, a 2008 presidential candidate, ended his Fox News show this month to explore another White House run in 2016.
- Many potential presidential candidates write books in the run-up to a campaign. Such tomes, reported on by many but read by few, are usually just an excuse for candidates to travel around the country and raise money, while receiving attention from the media and local activists in early primary states.
- In Huckabee’s case, the book – and the book tour to follow – is probably just an excuse to get more attention for his TV show, rather than a presidential bid few believe he will actually run.
- An already-launched book tour will take the former Arkansas governor to 43 states, including the key primary state of Iowa, where he won the caucus in 2008, this week.
Question of the Day
- Today’s Question With a post-SOTU visit to Boise today, President Obama makes his first presidential trip to Iowa. That leaves just three states Obama has yet to visit as President. Name at least one of the three states he has skipped so far.
- Answer Time On Friday, I asked what law started the precedent of moving holidays to Monday. The answer is the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which set the precedent for Martin Luther King Day to be held on the third Monday of January, rather than his January 15 birthday.
- GREAT JOB…Rick Isserman and Steve Gitnik, who both answered correctly.