President Obama’s State of the Union: The Most Social Media Ever?
At a time when second-term President Obama is facing low approval ratings, tonight’s State of the Union address is becoming even more interactive online than ever. The White House website will be streaming the speech, and a team of five of the president’s top staff will be taking questions online immediately following the address. Already on WhiteHouse.gov is a video showing a behind the scenes look at what goes into preparing the speech.
If that seems a bit like reality TV, get this: Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson will be in the audience as a guest of Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.).
Here are some topics to watch out for in the State of the Union Address:
A stalled economy and high unemployment are real worries for many Americans, and the President is expected to talk about income inequality as the “defining challenge of our time. “ Possible remedies include an executive order to raise the federal minimum wage.
With last fall’s disastrous roll out of the healthcare exchanges made available by Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”, the president has some serious public relations to do. Now that the revamped national health insurance marketplace is back online, I’d expect the President to show people how the benefits of the new system outweigh the technical glitches. The announced guests include people who have been able to get medical insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
The bill that got off to a strong bipartisan start in the Senate last year, stalled out in the House. With House Republicans expected to announce their own bill soon, will Obama mention immigration in his address?
Although it’s doubtful that the President will mention one topic many public school parents are already struggling with – the implementation of Common Core Standards in many states.
Of course, Republicans will have a chance for their own show, with the rebuttal immediately following the President’s speech. Who can forget Marco Rubio’s awkward water bottle moment from last year?
This year, the highest ranking GOP woman in the House, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) will be delivering the response.
Watch the State of the Union
The President's speech begins at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST. Watch along online at WH.gov/SOTU.
Participate in the State of the Union
For a lighter take, here are several printable bingo games you can use, such as the one on The Washington Post, which includes Obama-isms, such as “Let me be clear” or reactions we’ve come to expect, such as Speaker of the House John Boehner getting a pained look on his face.
MomsRising has a bingo card with emphasis on issues facing women and families, such as squares for terms such as “Mothers” or “Moms” or “Paid Family Leave”.
UPDATE: 8:19 p.m. PST, I watched the State of the Union online on the White House website, where the President's speech was streamed in a split-screen with photos and graphics that helped tell the story. There was lots of conversation on Twitter, too. Here are some tweets that recap the big moments of President Obama's speech:
— sfpelosi (@sfpelosi) January 28, 2014
— jamiaw (@jamiaw) January 29, 2014
Final report: Ya'll are terribly offended by snark on taxes and women's wages, but not much else. Overall, you make me proud. #SOTU
— Diana Prichard (@diana_prichard) January 29, 2014
— Kristin Rowe-Finkbei (@rowefinkbeiner) January 29, 2014
What social media is saying about Cathy McMorris Rodger’s rebuttal:
Does anyone else feel like they’re being talked to like kindergarteners? #SOTUResponse1
— Karoli (@Karoli) January 29, 2014
The person who does the response has hopeless task. But, and I mean this seriously, she comes off as nice.
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) January 29, 2014
"Where's BROOKLAND at? Where's BROOKLAND at?" Oh my gawd. That was priceless.
— Liz Dwyer (@losangelista) January 29, 2014
To Cathy McMorris Rogers, 4-H isn't a GOP credential. This Democrat was President of her 4-H club #sotu
— Joanne Bamberger (@JLCBamberger) January 29, 2014
Cathy McMorris Rodgers gave birth 8 weeks ago and now she's giving the GOP response to #SOTUS, what a champion
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) January 29, 2014
All this homespun wisdom, golldurnit, but not one single actual-factual policy name. #SOTUResponse
— Minna Hong (@asiangrrlMN) January 29, 2014
GOP: "Hmm, maybe if we pick a woman, everyone will forget literally every policy we support." #SOTU
— Jess Dweck (@TheDweck) January 29, 2014
You had me with your personal story Cathy McMorris, but rebuttal is weak and attack on healthcare is infuriating. #SOTU
— Yvonne Condes (@yvonneinla) January 29, 2014
This is the best #SOTU response I remember seeing. Not bad, McMorris Rodgers. Not bad.
— Tracy Viselli (@TracyViselli) January 29, 2014
And Speaker John Boehner made his own rebuttal video -- on Vine!
News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs about raising an Asian mixed-race family at HapaMama.