Obama Challenges Congress As Giffords Bids It Goodbye.

"Anyone want me to hear me do 'Love and Happiness'?"

There was a lot to like in President Obama’s fourth (and possibly last if he’s not reelected) State of the Union speech.   Not that you would know if you looked at how tight and screwed up the faces of House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor were.  Their seething contempt for Obama almost came off in visible waves.

That’s cool.  Let them gripe, groan and gnash their teeth.   I know and Obama knows he’s not going to get a damned thing out of the Republicans in Congress.  That’s fine because the audience he was going for were Democrats and Independents and from polling results of the president’s speech, they seemed to like what they heard from him.

In a presidential year, everything boils down to politics and so did Obama’s last State of the Union before voters go to the polls to retain or replace him in 40 weeks or so. He used the speech to lay out not just a broad agenda for 2012, but to lay out the initial case for his reelection.

The president also took aim indirectly at Mitt Romney when he renewed his call for tax reform and economic equality and fairness.  Romney launched a preemptive strike at the speech and pimped the Republican standard line that the president is pushing class warfare, envy and dividing Americans.  As if the country isn’t already divided between the few doing well and the many catching hell.

While I was a little surprised President Obama didn’t mention the recovering Gabrielle Giffords who announced this week she would be leaving Congress in his speech, he greeted her on the floor of the House with a big bear hug that Giffords seemed earnestly appreciative of.

Giffords submitted her letter of resignation to the assembled House before the president’s speech and received a standing ovation from her colleagues from both sides of the aisle.

Gabrielle Giffords is a testament to the power of faith, healing and courage. She has served her state and constituents well. Now she needs to serve her own needs and heal.

I wish her well. Godspeed, Gabby

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