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WATCH: Biden Goes on Mumbling Rant in State of the Union Speech

Past Speechwriters Call Bidens State of the Union ‘An Utter Disgrace’ 


In the limelight on Thursday evening, President Biden seized the opportunity to present his State of the Union address. With eight months to go before facing the polls and his popularity caught in a slump, the president firmly targeted his predecessor, referred to only as ‘him’. Throughout his address, the president performed a delicate tightrope walk as he targeted not only the former leader but also the Republican representatives attending the joint session of Congress.

“Recognize this: the former Republican President essentially told Putin, ‘You have free reign,'” was the charge Biden made, just moments into his address. This came as the initial salvo in a series of thirteen references to his predecessor, who emerged the GOP’s presumptive nominee this week.

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While the Democrats reveled in the forthrightness of the president’s speech, Republicans felt it was over the top. To veteran politico Bill McGurn, who has seen his fair share of political speeches as former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush, this was perhaps the most partisan State of the Union he has ever witnessed.

The sense of partisanship was underscored by McGurn, who concurrently contributes to the Wall Street Journal as a member of the editorial board and columnist, and serves as a Fox News contributor. To him, the address was bereft of Republicans outreach and carried one message loud and clear: the resurgence of big government, in full swing.

Also rising in protest against President Biden’s address was Marc Theissen, yet another speechwriter who served under the Bush regime. Having assessed the President’s speech as an ‘absolute travesty’, Theissen argued that Biden’s direct, early jabs at his opponent was ‘an unprecedented act of partisanship; possibly the most partisan State of the Union kickoff in recent memory.’, echoed in a post shared on social media.

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Contrastingly, Dan Cluchey, a former colleague of Biden and an ex-Biden White House speechwriter, saw things very differently. According to Cluchey, the President’s speech radiated zeal and set forth a discernable choice before America — a choice between expanding freedom or curtailing it; defending democracy or assailing it; fostering an inclusive economic growth or skewing it in favor of the uber-rich. The stance of President Biden, Cluchey asserted, was presented with an divinely balanced blend of terse rhetoric, light-hearted banter, and down-to-earth moral authority.

Cluchey’s view of the State of the Union address was rather glowing, stating, ‘State of the Union addresses can hardly surpass this.’ Maria Cardona, a Democratic National Committee member and a seasoned player in multiple presidential campaigns, held a similar view. According to her, the president’s undisguised comparison to Trump was sharp, trenchant, and exactly what was required of him.

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Cardona, urged the Republicans not to downplay the political edge of the speech. ‘The criticism that it was ‘too political’ means they realized he landed squarely on target,’ insisted Cardona, adding, ‘they have nowhere else to turn to.’

Biden’s energy, clarity, humor, and eloquence were among the positives Cardona drew from the speech. She appreciated his capability to engage with the general public by tying up his notable achievements with their everyday experiences. The sprightliness of Biden, at the age of 81, was noted by McGurn as well.

However, McGurn couldn’t help but observe a rather irritable undertone to the President’s demeanor. Clark Judge, a speechwriter for late President Ronald Reagan, agreed, describing the address as an outburst of rage manifesting itself in a loud, accusatory deliverance.

Disappointed with the solutions suggested to rectify the mess allegedly created by Biden himself, Judge condemned the president’s speech as a poor assortment of solutions. A part of President Biden’s address was devoted to highlighting the economic bounce-back during his leadership.

The president recounted the dire state of the economy he inherited, and then proceeded to celebrate the current status where the American economy is a global envy. He was particularly enthusiastic about the uptick in wages and a concurrent easing of inflation.

Despite these statistics, polls indicate general skepticism among Americans as they hesitate to credit the President for containing inflation. President Biden also chose to refuse accept vulnerability, using this opportunity to call out his predecessor and his fellow Republicans on account of the ongoing crisis at the southern border.

But, as veteran Republican strategist Colin Reed points out, both key issues – the economy and the border crisis – were tucked away deep within the address. On missing these crucial points, Reed lamented, ‘He missed the mark completely on the two most critical issues,’.

Despite being the oldest president, the majority of Americans still harbor serious qualms regarding Biden’s physical and mental ability to handle yet another presidential tenure. To this, relaxed and witty, Biden responded, ‘I may not look old, but having been around a while, I see things more clearly than ever before,’ drawing near the end of his address.

Observing the President’s address, seasoned Democratic strategist and communicator Chris Moyer found it pragmatic that Biden did not shy away from addressing the matter of his age, and is expected to get better at addressing it through the course of his campaign. While Moyer noticed the speech being more akin to a campaign speech than a genuine State of the Union address, he stood by Biden claiming that he delivered what was expected and displayed an unmistakable zeal for the fight.

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