My final thoughts: I'd put this speech in the same category as Obama's inaugural address. The point wasn't soaring rhetoric or soothing the nation, as the president has done so well on so many occasions, from his 'race speech' in Philadelphia to his recent speech in Tucson. Instead, like the inaugural address, tonight's speech seemed like it was intended to do a job: to set the agenda and refocus the nation's attention where Obama would like it to be. At the same, it seemed designed to recast his own image, or perhaps reinforce the one he's cultivated since December, as someone who has finally gotten the message that he should be focused on jobs, jobs, jobs. And "winning the future," whatever that is. I thought too much of the speech came across as hucksterish and hokey, as though Obama were fresh from some all-day motivational conference by Tom Peters or some other catch-phrase spouting business guru type. But if only through bludgeoning repetition, I think he got his point across. He's going to focus on jobs.
Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.