President Biden Delivers State of the Union, Sets Tone for 2024 Reelection Bid

President Biden delivered a forceful and lively State of the Union Address last night.  His speech has been portrayed as an unofficial kick-off to his 2024 reelection campaign and he previewed the theme of “Let’s finish the job.” 

The midterm elections reset the political status quo – divided government has returned with Republicans now holding a slim majority in the House of Representatives.  Last night was an opportunity for the president to put that new status quo in context and explain his vision and role in leading the new reality.  He made the case that he achieved a lot in his first two years – jobs, infrastructure, drug price controls, gun control, ending the COVID lockdowns, investments in green energy and semiconductor manufacturing.   And he stressed that much of the accomplishments were bipartisan.  At the same time, he made clear where he differs with Republicans – the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade, prescription drug price controls, tax increases on corporations and wealthy Americans and raising the debt ceiling without negotiating overspending cuts.  He stressed the need for bipartisan progress on policing and criminal justice reformsHighlighting the presence of the parents of Tyre Nichols in the audience, the President highlighted several policies to advance policing reforms:

  • Give law enforcement the training they need.
  • Hire more first responders and other professionals to address mental health and substance abuse challenges.
  • Provide more resources to reduce violent crime and gun crime.
  • Support community intervention programs.
  • Greater investments in housing, education, and job training 
  • Accountability for police officers or departments that violate the public’s trust, in reference to the Justice Department’s pattern-or-practice investigations for systemic misconduct. 

Interestingly, the President did not emphasize foreign policy – this was a domestic policy-focused speech.  Despite the intense focus on the Chinese spy balloon, he had little to say about the relationship with China.  Nor did he dwell on the war in Ukraine. Here are our Five Things to Know about the State of the Union.

  1. The President Gave a Commanding Performance. 
  2. The President Stressed Bipartisanship.  
  3. The Medicare Wars Return.
  4. Climate change and the energy transition
  5. China was downplayed.


Biden Calls on Republicans to Help Him ‘Finish the Job’ and Build the Economy 

President Biden was heckled during the State of the Union address when he spoke about fentanyl and when he accused Republicans of threatening Social Security and Medicare. 

The New York Times 

By Peter Baker 

February 8, 2023 – 1:21am 

Biden speech takeaways: More conciliation than conflict 

The Associated Press 

By Josh Boak and Aamer Madhani 

February 8, 2023 

Sarah Huckabee Sanders attacks 'radical left' in GOP State of the Union response 


By Darryl Coote 

February 8, 2023 – 12:23am 

US clears Poland to buy HIMARS, ATACMS, ammunition worth $10 billion 

Defense News 

By Joe Gould 

February 7, 2023 – 5:21pm 

Zelenskiy heads to London, wins pledge to train pilots on NATO planes 


By Dan Peleschuk and Muvija M 

February 8, 2023 – 5:29am 

Pentagon Says China Refused to Take Call Over Balloon Uproar 


By Nick Wadhams 

February 7, 2023 – 6:37pm 

U.S.-China trade hit record in 2022 despite tensions 

Robust cross-border flows run counter to talk of 'decoupling' 

Nikkei Asia 

By Marrian Zhou and Rintaro Tobita 

February 7, 2023 

Commerce Officials to Detail Chips Act Application Process This Month 

Announcement expected to set off push by chip makers for $53 billion in federal subsidies 

The Wall Street Journal 

By Yuka Hayashi 

February 7, 2023 – 10:00am