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SOTU: Breaking down Obama's speech

The New York Times calls Obama’s State of the Union “assertive” and “fleshed out the populist themes of his inauguration speech”: “President Obama, seeking to put the prosperity and promise of the middle class at the heart of his second-term agenda, called on Congress on Tuesday night to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour, saying that would lift millions out of poverty and energize the economy.”

The Washington Post: “President Obama challenged Congress on Tuesday night to assist an American middle class squeezed by rising costs and stagnant wages, making clear that he will devote much of his second term to closing the income gap between rich and poor.”

The Wall Street Journal: “President Barack Obama outlined an ambitious agenda in his State of the Union address Tuesday that included raising the minimum wage, increasing spending on infrastructure, attacking climate change and passing gun-control legislation.”

The Boston Globe: “President Obama urged a divided Congress in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night to approve new policies to fix a slow-moving economy, overhaul the nation’s immigration system, and tighten gun laws.”

The L.A. Times: “President Obama's State of the Union speech demonstrated a rule for governing in politically divided times: Insert yourself the least where the chance of success is best.”

Susan Page says Obama “has the scars of four tumultuous years in office and the credential of having won re-election. During last year's election and especially since November's victory, Obama has been emboldened on both the battles he chooses and the tactics he uses.” She added, “The agenda Obama outlined had more of the sweep of first-term ambitions than the limits of a second-term cleanup operation.”

As we’ve written previously, Obama is exuding a newfound confidence – from his speech laying out his gun-control proposals to his inaugural speech to the State of the Union.

Politico: “The speech President Barack Obama delivered in his State of the Union address Tuesday night was aggressive — but not nearly as aggressive as the message he was sending to Congress between the lines of what he said. For all the talk about bipartisan cooperation, Obama couldn’t have been clearer: He’s confident his agenda has popular support, he’s not going to compromise too much and he’s prepared to spend as much time going around the country pressing his case as it’ll take. As for the Republican lawmakers who complain that he’s been too rough on them already — he’s just getting started. And Democrats better be on notice, too.”

But Ron Fournier writes: “Rather than go big and bold, President Obama settled Tuesday night for incremental and pragmatic. For all his swagger and political capital, the president subtly acknowledged the limits of what he can accomplish--even while promising in his State of the Union address to create ‘a rising, thriving middle class.’ His speech lacked the moon-shot vibe you’d expect from a president courting greatness.”

The New York Daily News: “Jobs and the economy were supposed to be the focus of his speech, but President Obama’s demand that Congress vote on a series of new gun controls brought down the House at his State of the Union address Tuesday night.”

Roll Call: “Obama Aims to Put GOP on Defense in State of the Union Address.”

Political Wire: “A new CNN/ORC instant poll found that 77% of those watching President Obama's State of the Union had a somewhat or very positive view of the address, while 22% had a negative response. However, Obama was speaking to a relatively friendly audience. Of those who watched the speech, 44% were Democrats and 17% were Republicans.”

National Journal put together word clouds comparing Obama’s and Rubio’s speeches. Jumping out from Obama’s “jobs.” From Rubio’s “more government.”

“President Barack Obama is kicking off three days of travel to rally support for the job-creation and economic proposals he unveiled in his State of the Union address,” the AP notes. “Obama will launch the effort Wednesday in Asheville, N.C., with a visit to Linamar Corp., a supplier of engine and transmission components that has expanded its manufacturing operations. Linamar produces heavy-duty engine and driveline components. In 2011, the company announced that its fourth U.S. manufacturing facility would be at the site of a shuttered Volvo Construction Equipment plant in Asheville. The company has hired 160 workers and will hire 40 more by the end of the year, the White House said. Obama will make stops in Atlanta on Thursday and Chicago on Friday.”