Here's what I wrote in a comment for the FT:

Obama's speech was fine in its way, but the timing was wrong. The president worked the required themes of optimism and unity and did it as well as anybody could. He hit some inspiring notes. He talked about American exceptionalism as though he meant it. All this was well calculated to please his US listeners. Instant polling suggests it did.

But this was not the speech of a president focused, as Mr Obama should be, on the country's fiscal condition. He expressed concern about it, but no great sense of urgency. The thrust of the speech, in fact, pushed the other way.

Did he start to prepare the country for the coming fiscal restraint? The "Sputnik moment" says no. Did he give even an outline of the path back to fiscal control? No.

Bill Galston was much more positive.