Written By: Tayllor Lillestol
Edited By: Hina Ali
The State of the Union address is by far the biggest speech of the year for President Obama. It provides insight into the potential strides, or failures, that we might see in the coming months. As a legendary orator, and experienced president, Mr. Obama can be expected to deliver words of power and depth, designed to inspire the people who have begun to lose faith in his ability to be the leader the United States needs.
So did it work?
This year, I decided to focus on the crowd’s reaction to his words. When did the people stand on their feet? When did they stay silent? What were the facial expressions when the camera strayed from President Obama’s face?
At the beginning of the speech, Obama was quick to receive a standing ovation when he mentioned the end of the war. He also received a big reaction when he said that “China is no longer the world’s No. 1 place to invest, America is.” But there was one major point that the room did not agree on.
One of the most noteworthy assertions Obama made was his idea of a “year of action,” in which he will surpass Congress and pass a series of executive orders to get the ball moving. I’m not sure if you noticed, but the moment he mentioned taking steps without legislation, the room stopped clapping and went dead silent. Although some cheer later, at least half the room stays firmly seated. They don’t even clap, just sit there stoically. Ironically, moments later, Obama mentions his lovely wife and she receives a standing ovation. Speaker Boehner also gets monumental applause when Obama points out that he’s the son of a barkeep.
For the remainder of his speech, Obama does relatively well, according to the crowd. He talks about job creation, women’s rights and gun violence, among other important topics.
At his conclusion, Obama has brought the people to their feet dozens of time, and the room seems to be feeling generally positive (albeit perhaps exhausted from standing up and sitting down for an hour). By far the biggest reaction of the entire speech was for Cory Remsburg, a soldier injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, who got cheered on by the entire room for nearly two straight minutes.
After studying our president’s hour-long speech, I have to say that Obama seemed to do well in that room, although there has been plenty of criticism now that the cameras are off. There were definitely more standing ovations than I was expecting, despite some lackluster reactions on the part of several rows in the room.
So what did you think? How well did President Obama’s speech go?
For more reactions, check out “The Six Craziest Reactions to President Obama’s State of the Union.”