Obama gave his final State of the Union address Tuesday night. “And for this final one,” he said, “I’m going to try to make it shorter. I know some of you are antsy to get back to Iowa.” This one’s for you, Hillary!
He emphasized climate change: "Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it, you’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it."
He sub-tweeted Donald Trump: “We need to reject any politics that target people because of race or religion,” he said. “This is not a matter of political correctness. This is a matter of understanding just what it is that makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity, and our openness, and the way we respect every faith."
He pointed out the paralyzing party strife: "It's one of the few regrets of my presidency — that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better. There's no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide, and I guarantee I'll keep trying to be better so long as I hold this office.”
He concluded: “I stand here as confident as I have ever been that the State of our Union is strong.” I feel the same way about the state of this roundup, Barack.
Democratic candidate breakdown:
Hillary Clinton: As in 2008, Clinton will try not to lose grip on her frontrunner status — this in the face of numbers that show her support slipping in the stretch leading up to the Iowa caucus, Feb. 1.
Chelsea Clinton: Not to be left out of the campaign trail fun, the youngest Clinton attacked Bernie Sanders’ healthcare plan, saying that Sanders wanted to dismantle Obamacare, which would leave millions uncovered. This is in direct contrast to Sanders’ proposed single-player healthcare system, which aims to cover everyone.
Bernie Sanders: Sanders has been adding to his clique on the campaign trail, garnering support from movie stars like Mark Ruffalo and philosophers like Lil’ B. He has recently found a big supporter in rapper Killer Mike — I'm still holding out hope that Taylor Swift will add the Senator to her infamous posse.
In money news, as of Thursday morning the Sanders campaign has raised $1.9 million — despite the Clinton's best efforts to drive donors away.
Martin O’Malley: He’s still in the running (unlike me, who, despite my New Years resolution, haven't been running once) and qualified to take the stage on Sunday's democratic debate — despite concerns that his low polling numbers would leave him out. Although given his performance in Sunday's debate, he might as well have not been present.
For those of you who interested in actual policy, you can read about his new ‘Worker Bill of Rights’ here.
Republican candidate breakdown:
Nikki Haley: The South Carolina governor has become something of a lightning rod in conservative circles. Haley gave the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union, and she used the time, in part, to disavow rhetoric from the GOP campaign trail. “Today, we live in a time of threats like few others in recent memory. During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation," she said. “No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.”
Haley remains a staunch proponent of resettling Syrian refugees in her state of South Carolina, where she has also increased measures against illegal immigration.
Donald Trump: Rose Hamid, a 56-year-old Muslim woman, attended a Trump rally in South Carolina, wearing a hijab and silently standing while Trump spoke on foreign policy — but she was escorted off the premises after supporters verbally attacked her.
Trump still leads Republican polls at 36 percent, 17 points ahead of the next highest candidate, Ted Cruz.
Ted Cruz: The New York Times reports — contrary to Cruz — the Senator had some outside funding on the campaign trail in 2012. As it turns out, Cruz received loans that were later left out of his campaign finance history, including $500,00 from Goldman Sachs, the company his wife used to work for.
Ben Carson: Jump ship! Among those who have quit/resigned/been fired from Carson’s campaign include presidential campaign manager Barry Bennett, deputy campaign manager Lisa Coen, communications director Doug Watts and top finance chairman Dean Parker. Parker’s exit comes amidst allegations of mismanaging campaign money for personal and staff payment.
Marco Rubio: Wants to throw around the pigskin with you.
Quote of the week:
“Ask Osama bin Laden.”
— President Barack Obama on America’s commitment to justice, during the State of the Union address.