The Washington Post: "Striking an optimistic tone that has been absent from his speeches in recent weeks, the president said his stimulus plan, bank bailout proposal, housing programs and health-care overhaul would work in concert to turn around the nation's struggling economy. And while he bluntly described a country beset by historic economic challenges and continued threats abroad, he said the solution lies in directly confronting -- not ignoring -- those problems. 'The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation,' he said. 'The answers to our problems don't lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and universities, in our fields and our factories, in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth.'"
The New York Times: "In his first address to a joint session of Congress, Mr. Obama mixed an acknowledgment of the depth of the economic problems with a Reaganesque exhortation to American resilience. He offered an expansive agenda followed by a pledge to begin paring an ever-climbing budget deficit."
The Boston Globe makes a similar point: "President Obama, tempering the series of grim economic diagnoses he has delivered in recent weeks, sounded a new note of optimism."
The Wall Street Journal adds, "The speech, 52 minutes long, punctuated by more than 60 ovations, was billed as a rhetorical salve to a nation battered by layoffs and plunging stock prices -- and a tempering of pessimistic rhetoric from the Oval Office over the past few weeks."
The Los Angeles Times reminds us, "When Herbert Hoover said on the eve of the Great Depression that 'prosperity is around the corner,' he was ridiculed as blindly optimistic, and shantytowns were mockingly named 'Hoovervilles.' When Jimmy Carter said a 'national malaise' was behind U.S. economic woes in the 1970s, he was panned for being too grim and demoralizing. With his speech to Congress on Tuesday night, President Obama tried to navigate shoals that have challenged other presidents serving during times of economic crisis: how to balance warnings of dire circumstances against the need to inspire confidence."
The New York Daily News' DeFrank: "In a clear tonal shift from his first month, Obama seized the bully pulpit of his office to offer more hope than angst to a nation desperate for reassurance."
The AP compares Obama's speech to FDR's fireside chats and checks in with people for reaction: "On Tuesday night, three-quarters of a century later, Barack Obama stepped up to a less intimate but equally high-stakes version of the national fireplace to do the same thing: Talk a good game, draw us a map back toward prosperity and 'speak frankly and directly to the men and women who sent us here.'" More: "[T]he rest of the speech was relatively short on the type of sunny optimism that Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan used to buoy the nation in hard times. Rather, Obama's style was a variation on the bargaining approach of Clinton. But while Clinton excelled at explaining his policies, Obama is most effective at explaining his own intentions - especially his desire to pursue post-partisan solutions to urgent national problems."
Here are the word counts from NBC's Abby Livingston:
Economy -- 31
Home/house --11 (in context of mortgages)
Jobs -- 19
Government -- 7
Deficit/Debt -- 13
College/Schools/Education -- 27
Health care -- 16
Energy -- 14
Hope -- 3