USA Today: "President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress a year ago was filled with a sense of soaring possibility. On Wednesday night, his State of the Union Address centered instead on hard times and tough choices."
President Obama vowed Wednesday night not to give up on his ambitious legislative agenda, using his first State of the Union address to chastise Republicans for working in lock-step against him and to warn Democrats to stiffen their political spines," the New York Times says. "The speech, Mr. Obama's third to a joint session of Congress, comes at a particularly rocky point in his presidency, with many Americans — including some fellow Democrats — complaining that the president has lost sight of the priorities of ordinary people. And Mr. Obama acknowledged their doubts, conceding that some of his political setbacks 'were deserved,' a striking admission for any president."
The Washington Post: "A year after entering the White House with a broad mandate, Obama reframed his agenda around a single, central mission: continuing the nation's delicate economic recovery. He focused on jobs, casting himself as the advocate of average citizens, and acknowledged that his administration had 'some political setbacks this year, and some of them were deserved.'"
The Boston Globe: "Delivering his first State of the Union address to Congress at one of the most politically treacherous moments of his term, Obama summoned the powerful rhetoric that helped get him elected as he sought to repair the relationship between an angry electorate and Washington." The paper says there were "specifics" on economic proposals and "he took pains to acknowledge deep anger that citizens are feeling about the slow economic recovery, endless partisan fighting in Washington, and the slow pace of change."
The New York Post's lead: "President Obama last night tried to reboot his presidency, acknowledging candidly that Americans have lost faith in him but vowing that 'I don't quit' as he tried to rally voters behind him and recapture the energy that propelled him to the White House."
The AP notes Justice Sam Alito's disapproval at Obama's scolding of the court for its campaign-finance decision: "Alito, a conservative, made a dismissive face and began shaking his head at the mention of reversal, and he continued shaking his head as Obama urged Congress to pass new legislation to deal with what he considers a bad decision."
The Daily News does a jobs word tally: "Mentioning the word 'jobs' 29 times, he asked Congress to join him and make 2010 all about jobs."
The Daily News' Meek also catches this line: "President Obama chided pols on Wednesday night for arguing over who's toughest on terror -- then beat his chest for racking up a higher body count of evildoers in his first year in office than George W. Bush did in his last year as a 'war President.' 'Let's put aside the schoolyard taunts about who is tough,' he said. "In the last year, hundreds of Al Qaeda's fighters and affiliates, including many senior leaders, have been captured or killed -- far more than in 2008.'"
The New York Post's Hurt camped out at a bar in Sterling, Va., and found plenty of Republicans who can't stand Obama. "But while independent voters who make this area so important to Obama's future have nothing nice to say about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, they still have a reservoir of patience for Obama. 'I still like him,' said Dan Ryan, 49, a Navy captain who has voted for Democrats and Republicans alike over the years. 'He works hard,' he said, looking up at Obama on the TV. 'He's trying his best. And he admits his mistakes. He's good.' Also watching at the bar was Josh Lanier, 29, who replaces doors and windows for a living. A Democrat, Lanier voted for Obama and has seen his business jump with the federal government's tax incentives encouraging people to make their homes more energy efficient. Lanier marveled at the president's stirring speech: 'If this guy was a football coach, man, he would have a team that would run through a brick wall for him. The man can talk.'"