He seemed tired, a little down, and flat. But also earnest and humble and ... a little boring. The tone felt right to me, and the calm pledge to work with Republicans on those few things - like aspects of energy policy, education and taxes - on which they agree seems genuine.

What you see here is a president actually trying to address public problems with practical solutions. The lack of any ideological arc or narrative is in stark contrast with the GOP. That has hurt him so far. But if the economy recovers, and if he can explain how he helped, this pragmatism will become more popular. Those are two serious ifs, however.

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