So prepare to refresh your browser and join us, please, after the jump:
4:51: Eli says:
This was a great speech—and, far more important, great politics.
Obama has a plan. It's paid for. It will create jobs. All that needs to happen is one thing: Congress needs to pass the plan. (You know, in case you missed Obama saying a thousand times during this speech that Congress needs to "pass this plan.")
Congress, which applauded on both sides of the aisle for many of Obama's proposals, will now be the body that's blamed if something's not done on the jobs front. Particularly Republicans in Congress, who will be seen as the obstacle.
Obama also called out Congressional Republicans for their seeming willingness to allow 14 more months of financial pain in the hopes of gaining some electoral edge in November 2012. They will be held responsible for that, too, if they do nothing.
There's no way Obama loses here. Congress fails to act: He wins. Congress acts: He wins.
Smart, smart, smart. A great flipping of the script.
4:47: Goldy notes the media response:
ABC: 9/11 anniversary related unspecified terrorist threat.
NBC: Lightning storm outside capital.
CBS: Not a detached professor.
PBS: Injecting a sense of urgency into the conversation.
FOX: Break to commercial
4:43: I think it's time for a little poll dancing.
4:42: "We are tougher than the times we live in and bigger than our politics have been." Great flourish at the end. Great, short speech.
Obama is running against Congress. Give 'em hell, Barack!
4:41: The Republicans look like real dicks. The image a lot of people are going to take from this is half of Congress sitting down while Obama makes an optimistic speech about what America can do.
4:40: Goldy says:
Best speech of Obama's presidency. Telling it like it is. Forcefully making a case for government, and against the reactionary, anti-government ideology of the right. "What kind of country would this be if this country voted down Social Security and Medicare just because it violated some principle."
4:38: Eli says:
I missed how the President plans to pay for this, but the White House just sent out a fact sheet that explains. It's additional deficit reduction, achieved by that Joint Committee that our own Senator Patty Murray is helping to lead:
5. Fully Paid for as Part of the President’s Long-Term Deficit Reduction Plan. To ensure that the American Jobs Act is fully paid for, the President will call on the Joint Committee to come up with additional deficit reduction necessary to pay for the Act and still meet its deficit target. The President will, in the coming days, release a detailed plan that will show how we can do that while achieving the additional deficit reduction necessary to meet the President’s broader goal of stabilizing our debt as a share of the economy.
4:37: I'm loving this push for Democratic values. I was afraid this speech was going to be all pragmatism and no ideals or justifications. but fighting teabagger values in the middle of this speech is a nice touch.
4:35: Eli says:
The vote that supposedly was the reason for delaying Obama's speech:
4:34: Goldy says:
Obama should throw in a line about executing lots of death-row inmates. That should get the Republicans to stand and applaud.
4:33: Is Obama going to come out strong for regulations? God, I hope so.
4:31: Eli says,
But what is the free parting gift that he throws in at the end???
4:30: Goldy notes:
Obama presenting policy as choices... as "simple math." Tax breaks for oil companies or tax breaks for small businesses: "We can't do both." Most Americans are not ideologues; they want government that works. This is a smart speech.
4:28: Boehner uncomfortably clapped at that last tax-the-rich routine. Stranger publisher Tim Keck points out that Boehner is turning the same color as the leather chair he's sitting in.
4:27: Goldy says:
"We need a tax code where everybody gets a fair shake, and where everybody pays their fair share." Again, Republicans remain seated, because again, they presumably don't believe in fair shakes and fair shares when it comes to taxes. Assholes.
4:25: Eli notes:
Boehner didn't clap when Obama talked about asking "the wealthiest Americans and corporations to pay their fair share."
4:23: The Republicans should've said the words "jobs" and "middle class" last night as often as Obama is saying them tonight. Romney said "middle class" three times last night. And that's it.
4:21: Eli says:
So if they all stand up and clap for a proposal, does that mean it passes? The speech video vs. vote tally comparison will be interesting.
"You should pass it right away," and "Pass this jobs bill" are the tag lines of the night. Voiced in the imperative. I know he's supposedly talking directly to the American people, but he's explicitly addressing the Congress. There's a preacher-like cadence to his repetition that strikes me as very effective.
4:19: The repetition of "pass this bill" reminds me of Goodnight, Moon.
"And you can have this bill... If you vote now!"
"Republicans refuse to applaud "every child deserves a great school," presumably because they don't believe that every child deserves a great school. Classy."
4:17: Wow, I don't think I've ever seen Obama sell something so hard. The "pass this jobs bill" repeating thing is old-school salesmanship..
4:16: Eli says:
It's the Pass This Jobs Bill Jobs Bill!
4:15: Eli says;
Obama's current approval rating: 43.8 percent
Congress's current approval rating: 12.3 percent
This is what he's needed to take advantage of for a long time. In the public's mind, Congress is in no position to lecture anyone. In the public's mind, it's Congress that needs a good talking to. And if Obama can make the American people feel that he's given Congress a piece of their mind, and Congress then acts—well, that's a huge, huge win for the president.
4:14: Goldy says:
"The American Jobs Act." Simple. Straight forward. Finally bill from the Dems with a marketable name. I don't even care what's in it anymore.
4:13: "I am sending Congress a plan that you should pass right away." He's going to try as hard as he can to sell this over Congress's head to the American people, making them look contrary if they take too long to pass it or shoot it down.
4:11: Obama outlines the American Dream: Benefits, retirement, savings. He urges Congress to "stop the political circus" to big applause.
4:09: Obama comes out swinging against the "political crisis" that has "made things worse." He's attacking the media for over-speculating, saying that the American people don't care about that kind of shell game.
4:07: Eli notes:
Obama just gave the cold shoulder to Washington State Congressional hopeful (and reported Ghaddaffi supporter) Dennis Kucinich on his way in. No handshake for Dennis.
4:06: Here he comes. Everybody is shaking his hand, and PBS wants us to think this is unusual, somehow, even though his approval ratings are down.
4:05: Goldy reminds us:
All the major broadcast TV networks are showing the speech live. Also, Fox.
4:03: Goldy says:
I haven't watched the PBS News Hour in I dunno how long. My God, Judy Woodruff is old. And worse, she's old in HD!
4:02: Eli Sanders says:
Hello. Here's an excerpt the White House was waving in front of political reporters earlier today, and was embargoed until 6 p.m. Eastern:
The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours. The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy; whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning.
Those of us here tonight cannot solve all of our nation’s woes. Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers. But we can help. We can make a difference. There are steps we can take right now to improve people’s lives.
I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away. It’s called the American Jobs Act. There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans – including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything.
The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working. It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for the long-term unemployed. It will provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers, and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business. It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and hire, there will be customers for their products and services. You should pass this jobs plan right away.
I'm far from the only one, but this is exactly what I've been saying Obama should do tonight: Give Congress an offer they can't refuse (unless they want to position themselves as not caring about job creation).
4:00: We're getting context for the speech, now. Obama's approval rating is in the toilet, unemployment is stuck over 9%. This could be the "most important" hearing of his presidency.
3:58: Here's what the New York Times is saying the speech will contain:
President Obama is expected to call for a significant, and costly, expansion of the payroll tax holiday, which already reduces workers’ contributions this year to financing Social Security, as part of a plan to spur what he will call an economic recovery “driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers.”
3:56: I hope this live-casting stuff works better on PBS than it did on Politico last night. That just gave us video of some douchebag saying "Test" over and over again.
3:55: So this top post will soon be the bottom post. Freaky! I don't know how I feel about this.