Since its beginning 50 years ago, the opposition’s televised appraisal of the president’s State of the Union address has been as much about the messenger as it has the message. In 1966, the “square jaws” and “fullback’s shoulders” of the 52 year-old Gerald Ford—then the minority leader of the House—were a marked contrast to the “weathered visage” of his 70 year-old partner, Sen. Everett Dirksen, according to The New York Times. “To many Americans, [Ford] may have seemed the new, young face of a different Republican Party.”
This year, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley presented the new, young face of the Republican Party, which has struggled to attract voters who look like her. In her nearly 10-minute speech, Haley referenced early on that she is the “proud daughter” of Indian immigrants and implicitly rebuked the Republican candidate who has dominated the presidential campaign trail, Donald Trump, who has called for closing U.S. borders to Muslims.
"I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants who reminded my brothers, my sister, and me every day how blessed we were to live in this country,” said Haley. “My story is really not much different from millions of other Americans. Immigrants have been coming to our shores for generations to live the dream that is America.”