Feb. 24, 2009
"While our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken, though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before."
President Obama, in his first address to a joint session of Congress
"Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us. Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina, we have our doubts."
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, delivering the Republican response to Obama's address to Congress
The President seemingly sails through his first State of the Unionlike address to lawmakers, striking a stern yet optimistic tone on the challenges Americans face during a vicious economic downturn. He urges lawmakers and the millions watching at home to use the economic crisis as a reason to raise ambitions and offers an expansive agenda on energy, health care and education. While he shies away from laying out new policies in the hourlong address, he's able to frame the issues with a new sense of urgency.
On the Republican side, it appears to be an opportunity missed for Jindal, the much touted up-and-comer whose response is widely panned by both parties. Some suggest afterwards he came off amateurish and are curious as to why he would use the government's blunder with Hurricane Katrina (which happened under President Bush's watch) to criticize Obama. The poor showing leaves many within his own party wondering about whether 37-year-old Jindal considered a top contender for 2012 is really ready for prime time (though many quip that he is a dead ringer for 30 Rock character Kenneth the Page).