Last night was Bush's seventh State of the Union speech, and, depending on who you ask, it was confident, subdued, apologetic, unapologetic, clappy and not-as-clappy (though even not-so-clappy still means a hearty regimen of stand-up-sit-down applause cues that we're shocked John McCain was immune to). We're not going to get into particulars here — if you want 'em, you know where to find 'em — but we did want to say that this was truly an incredible moment to see:
(Particularly as compared to this.)
That burst of applause was enthusiastic and genuine, from both sides of the aisle, and that's sorta cool.
Another first: Journalists reporting from the floor for the first time ever (apparently those watching on NBC got an earful of Campbell Brown's dulcet tones, though there was no camera with her). For the record - because these things matter - ABC's Charlie Gibson stayed live and on the story through to 10pm, the longest of the big three, while CBS stopped promptly at 9:30pm so as not to miss "Two and Half Men." Over at HDNET, however, her predecessor Dan Rather was live and workin' it until 11pm.And now for some SOTU numbers:
Mentions of "Iraq" or "Iraqi": 34
Mentions of "al Qaeda": 11
Mentions of September 11th: 3
Mentions of "victory": 2
Mentions of "Katrina" or "New Orleans": 0
That's the most glaring omission from the speech by far, as noted last night by Barack Obama and this morning on MSNBC by Don Imus (and no doubt elsewhere). The speech did, however, offer ample advertising for Disney's Baby Einstein. Hey, you can't hit everything. Even so, we truly got a thrill seeing this:
"There is something wonderful about a country that produces a brave and humble man like Wesley Autrey." Can't argue with that, nosiree.