Joint Address Not-Really-A-Liveblog
Boy, CNN's picture quality on their Web feed has really improved. I'll check in from time to time. Great moment there when Ruth Bader Ginsburg entered the chamber. I wonder if Jim Bunning found her to shake her hand.
...Obama coming out now. I'm skimming a pre-released copy of the speech, and it's pretty good. Longer than I expected. The key is that Obama is distilling his domestic agenda down to energy, health care and education. There is one news nugget here, and that's a call for universal tax-free savings accounts (from birth, I believe; this sounds like what is done in Britain). I did not expect that at all and it was never leaked as a possibility. But it's a very good idea. More on that later. The speech is about to begin... here's the prepared text.
..."Nobody messes with Joe." Funny, even more when Biden flashes that DeNiro smile. I like that Obama is explaining the credit crisis and the importance of lending.
...Obama getting a great reaction in the room. He's really nailing Wall Street, which is a pretty good villain at this point. The fleeting reference to nationalization is that he would "make the necessary adjustments" if banks are found to be insolvent. That means approximately... nothing. Otherwise, great speech, and such a contrast with the guy who was up there for the past 8 years.
..."It's not about helping banks, it's about helping people." This is true, and while it doesn't go down very well, it's a necessary connection for Obama to make. He has to get the breathing space when (not if) he needs more money from Congress.
...Cure for cancer? Controversial!
The health care section is short on details, of course, but we learned today that mandates are back on the table. I'll have more on this tomorrow. There will be a summit next week, and reform "will not wait another year."
The consistent framing here is "we're America, we can do anything," and then putting that flattery to work on essentially liberal ideas. I can deal with that.
...Shorter Obama: "Don't be a fool, stay in school." Putting a premium on college education is actually sharp.
...Seriously, this is such a "take that" moment on fiscal responsibility. Republicans don't want to own up to the real meanings of those words. Re-imagining that means sticking all the waste and crap from the last 30 years of misrule right back in their faces. This is my favorite part of the speech by far... then there's that part about tax-free universal savings accounts, which just confuses everybody.
...The clarification on that "tax-free universal savings accounts" thing is that it's an add-on to Social Security rather than a carve-out, and it's been kicking around Democratic circles for a while. Something less than I expected upon first reading it.