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Insiders Grade Obama on State of the Union

February 16, 2013

National Journal's Political Insiders of different parties had drastically different views of President Obama's State of the Union address.

Asked to grade his performance, nearly all of the Democratic Insiders put him in the A to B range, while the majority of Republican Insiders -- more than half -- gave the President a C, with a tenth even failing the commander-in-chief.

What grade would you give President Obama's State of the Union address?

(88 votes)
(80 votes)
A 44% 0%
B 49% 17%
C 6% 58%
D 1% 17%
F 0% 8%

Democratic Insiders were complimentary of the President on his delivery and the message.

"He kept it real, digestible, but also aspirational for the country. He's speaking beyond the Beltway, and it's working," one said.

"He was clearly the commander in chief, laid out his agenda, challenged a 'Do-Nothing' Congress politely, and hit a home run with his impassioned plea for his anti-gun-violence agenda," another added.

Several of the Democrats who awarded the President a "B" noted that they were disappointed that the President did not delve further into fiscal issues and deficit reduction.

"Ambitious ... but [he] punted on making the case for the sacrifice necessary for some of our toughest needs," said one Insider.

"The lack of specifics on cutting spending is starting to take its toll," another added. A third explained, "He did a good job of turning up the heat on critical issues, but he played a little loose with some fiscal facts that may haunt him."

Republicans were -- as expected -- less forgiving of the President. Several noted that many of Obama's initiatives will never be enacted.

"Helluva shopping list. What's the point?" one GOP Insider asked.

"Boring, boring, boring," another said. "A litany of liberal wish lists that will go nowhere. A wasted hour."

"I give him a B for delivery and a D on honesty (what can be done without adding to budget or endangering the nation), so settle at a C," a third added.

Others took issue with the way in which Obama presented his proposals -- like he was still campaigning.

"Well delivered, but no new ground. Still sounding like the Democratic nominee, not the president," said one. "Most fun was watching Biden."

"Little or no reaching across the aisle or compromise," another added.

Yet a third Republican, who flunked the President, noted: "There are two America's: Obama's and [that of] those who disagree with him."

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