It's really hard to get a real sense of the way the president delivered the State of the Union address without watching it, but the speeches are so long they're almost impossible to sit through. Here's the second-best thing: our visual recap of how President Obama talked and how his congressional friends and foes reacted.
The night began, as usual, with the very big displays of bipartisan chumminess. Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boeher joked like old pals:
Then came Obama, not quite doing finger guns, but giving out lots of hugs:
Some were extremely happy to be chosen for a hug:
But the best hug of all was for Gabby Giffords, which elicited big cheers:
Then, down to business. A round of applause for the troops. Then for taking out Osama bin Laden. There were several of those tonight:
Now, down to issues. Obama really wants to sign a bill lowering taxes so corporations will bring jobs back home.
Some people liked this:
Look at the progress woman have made in infiltrating the boy's club! Their brightly-colored conservative suits are like ornaments on a Christmas tree of navy suits.
It would all be so easy if you guys would give me a bill to sign.
"Send me these tax reforms and I will sign right away!"
Like all great outfits, a State of the Union address is made by its accessories. There was the woman who appears to be the most famous secretary in America right now, Debbie Bosanek. She's Warren Buffet's secretary, the inspiration for the "Buffet rule," which Obama says would mean super rich investors wouldn't be able to pay a lower federal tax rate than their secretaries. "I was so excited I couldn’t sleep last night," she told The Washington Post.
Some guests were even more nervous. Jackie Bray, who was laid off in North Carolina but retrained by a new manufacturer, looked slightly nauseated when Obama told her story, as if she knew the cameras would be on her.
Obama pointed to Adm. William McRaven, who oversaw the Navy Seal team that killed bin Laden.
Gabby Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, sat next to the first lady.
In another moment in which Obama seemed to be responding to the Republican primary, Obama twice said our relationship with Israel is "iron-clad." ("This president has found it acceptable to be critical of our friends," Mitt Romney said this month. "Obama has isolated Israel!" Rick Santorum said in the fall.) Obama's not really a podium-pounder, but he did some forceful pointing.
Side note: A fun game is watching two live feeds, one slightly slower than the other, so it looks like Obama's talking to another Obama. (Second side note: Fun games are necessary when speeches last an hour and 15 minutes.)
Washington can work together, Obama says. All lawmakers have to do is take a little inspiration from guys like the members of Seal Team Six.
Afterward, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave him the thumbs up:
The shoulder pat: something her husband was known for!
Then Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels offered his response. The response to the State of the Union is a terrible gig, and it can ruin your career. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was the next big thing, until his dopey delivery made everyone compare him to Opey from Happy Days. Daniels took a bit of inspiration from Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who's response was most notable for his eyebrows. Kaine in 2008:
Then Herman Cain delivered the Tea Party response.
Cain said the Tea Party would not be ignored. Obviously that was less a warning than a wish, and less about the movement than about himself. He still has books to sell!
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.