Tomorrow’s news today: The State of the Union

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dateline: Thursday, Jan. 28) — Speaking before a joint session of Congress, President Obama declared Wednesday night that the State of the Union was “around here somewhere,” declaring he had “just seen the speech a few minutes ago,” and promising to ask his daughters if “perhaps the dog had eaten it, or key parts of it.”

The president’s first address to the nation before assembled congressmen, Supreme Court justices and cabinet officials seemed a little scattered, as Obama frequently veered from the usual assurances that the country is sound, even appearing at points to be stalling in his presentation.

“We’ll get started here in just a moment,” Obama said after the welcoming ovation had ended and he took his place at the Capitol podium. “Those of you who want to take notes might want to get out your pencils and paper at this point, while the rest of you can chat with your neighbor for a second.”

The president left the stage briefly before returning with a sheaf of papers, which he dropped and then hastily gathered back together.

“Heh, heh, I may be starting on the last page here,” Obama said as he tried to reassemble his address. “You’d all probably like that, wouldn’t you?”

It was at this point that several members from the Republican side of the aisle began shouting “c’mon” and “let’s go” as well as “we don’t have all night here, ya’ know.”

“Alright, alright,” the president began.

Obama said the American people had endured a lot of hardship in recent years, and that it was time for positive actions to replace words and promises.

“I admit, it’s been tough,” the president said. “We’ve all seen the articles in the paper and the stories on television. By the way, how many of you here saw ‘Idol’ last night?”

Several members of the audience tentatively raised their hands, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled to the House clerk that a roll call vote should be taken. After a brief delay, it was determined that 265 members had seen the episode while 173 did not and 28 abstained or couldn’t believe the question.

“That one gal with the hat and glasses was funny,” the president observed after the vote. “I was laughing.”

The chief executive, delivering the first State of the Union address of his presidency, noted that “we’ve debated a lot of stuff and had our disagreements, but I think at the end of the day, we’re all great believers in the good sense of the American people.”

“Now I know some of you here and some of you watching at home don’t like all of the changes I’ve proposed and, that’s cool, that’s cool,” Obama noted. “You can’t win ’em all. If I was interested in a popularity contest, I’d probably be singing in front of Simon and Randy. How many of you saw ‘Idol’ again?”

At this point, Vice President Joe Biden approached the lectern and whispered briefly in Obama’s ear, to which the president nodded his head and responded, “Oh, right, right.”

“I think I’m supposed to spell out some proposals about initiatives I’d like to introduce in the year ahead, so I’ll do that right now,” the president said.

Obama avoided many of the large-scale issues such as healthcare, the economy and the fight against terrorism which had provoked so much resistance in 2009, and focused his agenda instead on smaller, more soluble problems.

“I will bring a bill before this body that requires the fine print in pharmaceutical ads to be a full pointsize bigger, with many parts in all capital letters or even bold type,” Obama said. “And I will be asking the Congress for funding of a program to require weekend forecasts on the local news to begin on Wednesdays instead of Thursdays.”

The president did mention the issue of job cuts that has plagued his administration from day one, with unemployment now soaring over 10 percent.

“That’s simply an unacceptable percentage,” Obama said. “I’m going to start thinking of it in terms of the fraction one-tenth, or perhaps that the odds are one in ten that you don’t have a job. I’m also setting up a special office in the White House that will proofread resumes.”

The president then took a moment to recognize several special guests in attendance, who were sitting in the front row of the balcony with the First Lady.

“Michelle is being accompanied tonight by a couple of gentlemen who represent those qualities that all of us, regardless of party affiliation, can universally admire,” he said. “Let’s give a warm and appreciative welcome to the man in the blue suit with the red tie, and that other guy in the Army costume.”

Obama then drew his address to a close with an overall assessment of the condition of the country in language that has become a tradition for presidents going back to Herbert Hoover.

“I am proud to report to you tonight that the state of the union is strong–” he began to mounting applause. “Let me finish, let me finish. The state of the union is strongly dependent on how willing Asian countries are to buy up our debt.”

The president then thanked the assembled crowd, waving and smiling as he mouthed the words “gotta run” before hopping down to the floor of the House. Subdued Democrats refrained from an enthusiastic standing ovation, preferring instead to crouch or stoop slightly. Republicans offered two or three polite claps and then streamed for the exits.

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One Response to “Tomorrow’s news today: The State of the Union”

  1. jdhays Says:

    Excellent. Now that you’ve captured the essence of the speech, I don’t have to tune in tonight. Nicely done.

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