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SOTU Reaction Takeaways January 28, 2010

Posted by Rebecca Williams in News.
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From policy wonks to your average Joe, reactions to President Obama’s State of the Union address are everywhere.  Highlighted below are a handful of responses, including topics on international affairs, national security, and the military.

International Affairs

Foreign Policy:  “Big year for foreign policy — but little mention in Obama’s State of the Union”

The foreign policy headline of the State of the Union speech is how far the president went to avoid generating a national security headline. In one of the longest of recent SOTU’s, the president’s speechwriters devoted some of the shortest space and least consequential language to national security. The only national security news item was buried deep in a paragraph, masked with oblique language: the proposal to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Washington Post: Analysis: Another goal pared back: Mideast peace

The bleak domestic realities washing over President Barack Obama’s White House cloak equally dismal prospects for quickly shepherding Israel and the Palestinians back to peace talks. “I think it is absolutely true that what we did this year didn’t produce the kind of breakthrough that we wanted,” Obama said in a Time magazine interview published last week.

The Spectator: President Obama Meets Candidate Obama

Foreign policy received very little, even perfunctory, attention. Understandable, given the electorate’s economic concerns. Missing was any mention of Israel and Palestine or Guantanamo Bay or Pakistan or Cuba. Well, you can’t cover everything and, alas, like his predecessor Obama’s brief mention of human rights continues to rub against American support for leaders such as Hosni Mubarak.

Politico: Dems Predict Cautious Foreign Policy

Another Washington Democratic foreign policy hand said the Obama White House is likely to disengage from extraneous foreign policy engagements in stages: “By early-midsummer, the political folks will tell the policy folks that it’s only Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan that is on the president’s schedule,” he predicted.

National Security

New York Daily News: I’ve bagged more terrorists than Bush, says Obama in State of the Union

President Obama chided pols on Wednesday night for arguing over who’s toughest on terror – then beat his chest for racking up a higher body count of evildoers in his first year in office than George W. Bush did in his last year as a “war President.”

BioPrepWatch: President speaks of new bioterror initiative in State of the Union

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama promised to take steps to ensure that a faster threat is ensured against the threat of bio-terrorism. “We are launching a new initiative that will give us the capacity to respond faster and more effectively to bio-terrorism or an infectious disease – a plan that will counter threats at home, and strengthen public health abroad,” Obama said.

Military- Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Andrew Sullivan: Highlights The Williams Institute on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT).  Key findings include that the military spends an estimated $22,000 to $43,000 per person to replace those discharged under DADT.

Marc Ambinder: “The End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

I’ll get to what President Obama said about the policy in a moment. Most remarkable: Secretary of Defense Bob Gates applauded Obama’s words. And Americans saw him applauding, thanks to the director’s cut-aways. Which means that, for the most part, the military is on notice: the policy is ending, and ending very soon.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Would Be A ‘Mistake’

In his State of the Union address, President Obama asked Congress to repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. I am immensely proud of, and thankful for, every American who wears the uniform of our country, especially at a time of war, and I believe it would be a mistake to repeal the policy.

Special thanks to David Dawson for his help on this piece.

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