Biden’s first State of the Union: success or failure?

Patrick McGann, Crier Staff

On March 1, President Biden delivered his first State of the Union address at the Capitol. For the first time since the beginning of COVID, Congress, high ranking military members, members of the judiciary, and invited guests gathered to hear the President deliver a speech about the state of our country and our path back to normalcy.

President Biden began his address with a strong showing of support to the Ukrainian people. In his opening statements, President Biden said, “He (Vladimir Putin) thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over… From President Zelenskyy to every Ukrainian, their fearlessness, their courage, their determination, inspires the world.” With the world looking at the President, he displayed indisputable support for Ukraine and overwhelming condemnation for Putin.

Following this portion of his speech, Biden began talking about domestic issues. He explained how his American Rescue Plan was bringing America back from the pandemic by vaccinating people and putting money in Americans’ pockets. He boasted about his job creation, which he said has led to the most jobs ever created in one year by an American president. He boasted about his Infrastructure Bill, which will invest $65 billion in American highways, roads, and bridges. These remarks were followed by standing ovations from the Democrats and deathly silence from the Republicans.

Biden concluded by quickly touching on less publicized accomplishments made during his presidency. He mentioned the money his administration has invested in cancer and diabetes research, which is a very personal subject for the President. He mentioned his Supreme Court nominee Kentaji Jackson and how she intends on supporting the ruling of Roe v Wade. Much to the delight of his fellow Democrats, Biden placed and emphasis on having access to voting rights, something the GOP has been trying to swing in their favor ever since the 2020 election. Again, he received overwhelming support from the Democrats, and some less then pleased moans from the Republicans.

Traditionally, the SOTU is a “no-risk” opportunity for a president, as the only purpose of the speech is to discuss the achievements made during one’s presidency. This held true for Biden. He highlighted the promises he has fulfilled during his year plus in office and skipped over the instances where he has lost support. He came off as calm and collected during the speech and limited his gaffes and off script monologues. At a very important time in his presidency, he was able to deliver.

Politics major, Mac Connors ’25, watched the address at the college’s watch party at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. Connors said that Biden did a good job “engaging with the audience” and was able to “limit his mistakes and deliver an honest and thoughtful speech.” Another Junior Politics major at the watch party said, “President Biden remained calm, respectable, and appropriate to the topic. Although I disagree with some of what he said, particularly on Roe v Wade and the economy, I found him to be honest and genuine, which is the most I can ask for right now.”
Following the speech, both parties designated one member to give a response to the SOTU. Iowa governor Kim Reynolds have her opinions shortly after the speech and Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib showed her party’s support soon after. As tensions in Ukraine continue to escalate, the world is looking to Biden and other prominent world leaders to help restore order in eastern Europe. In spite of this, President Biden continues to tell the American people that the state of our union is strong.