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The State of the Union

So did Obama snub Clinton? The Chicago Tribune seems to think so. "Sen. Barack Obama refused to make himself available to greet Sen. Hillary Clinton before the speech. When members of the Senate entered the chamber, Obama came in before Clinton. He went out of his way to greet as many House members as possible and walked halfway across the chamber to greet members of the Supreme Court, the president's cabinet, the military joint chiefs. That made what happened next even more striking. Obama returned to stand by his seat next to Sen. Edward Kennedy who endorsed Obama today in a widely watched event that reverberated across the political world."

More: "As Clinton approached, Kennedy made sure to make eye contact and indicated he wanted to shake her hand. Clinton leaned towards Kennedy over a row of seats and Kennedy leaned in towards her. They shook hands. Obama stood icily staring at Clinton during this, then turned his back and stepped a few feet away. Kennedy may've wanted to make peace with Clinton but Obama clearly wanted no part of that."

For her part, Clinton sidestepped a question from NBC's Brian Williams about whether Kennedy's endorsement had to do with his disapproval of the Clinton campaign's tone and conduct. Williams asked, "Does anything about this incident prompt you to change the message of your campaign or how it's conveyed?" Her response, per NBC's Sarah Demarest: "Well, I think the message of my campaign is very clear. It is about the high stakes in this election. It is about why is ready to be president on Day One to tackle the tough problems that will await our next president, especially after the eight years of President Bush's time in office. And it is about who is best prepared to really bring the country together around solutions around solving problems. You know, that's what I've done for 35 years. That's what I'm offering in this campaign."

Interestingly, Clinton apparently cancelled her later interviews on CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC.

As for Bush's final State of the Union address, the Washington Post says, "Gone were the grand dreams of remaking Social Security, immigration law or the tax code. In their place were modest initiatives, such as hiring preferences for military spouses. The economic package targeted tax breaks to low- and middle-class workers. And the foreign policy stressed Middle East peacemaking and diplomacy with rogue nations."

"President Bush took office with so much derision for the outgoing president that critics defined his attitude toward governing as ABC -- "anything but Clinton." He would not play 'small ball,' he declared, nor would he coddle North Korea or waste time mediating between the Israelis and Arabs. But as he delivered his final State of the Union address last night, Bush increasingly appeared to be adopting some of his predecessor's approach."  

The Globe's Peter Canellos' analysis: "In calling last night for a bipartisan compromise on securing Medicare and Social Security, an international pact to reduce greenhouse gases, and greater action to diminish national dependence on foreign oil, Bush sought to exercise precisely the kind of results-oriented, nonideological leadership he promised in his 2000 presidential campaign."

The Los Angeles Times: "The most upbeat, soaring section of Bush's speech, ironically, was his description of progress in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- accomplishments whose durability remain in question, and for which few Americans seem to grant the president much credit."

The New York Times says Bush "devoted relatively little of his 53 minute speech to the economy, the issue that is the top concern of voters during this election year. He spent far more time talking about the issue that has been his own primary concern, Iraq. Mr. Bush made the case that his troop buildup had "achieved results few of us could have imagined just one year ago," and reminded Americans that in coming months, 20,000 troops will have come home. Yet he avoided any timetable for further withdrawal and, if anything, seemed to be preparing the country for a far longer-term stay in Iraq, warning that a precipitous withdrawal could lead to a backslide in security.