Three takeaways from President Biden’s State of the Union speech

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., February 7, 2023. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Here are some takeaways from US President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech to Congress on Tuesday, an address that could serve as a blueprint for his 2024 re-election bid:

Biden, Republicans spar

Biden, a Democrat, told Republicans in Congress who have questioned his legitimacy and threatened to block his policies that “there is no reason we can’t work together.”

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who once served as press secretary for Trump, rejected Biden’s speech in a response prepared beforehand.

“In the radical left’s America, Washington taxes you and lights your hard-earned money on fire,” she said.

And while Democrats were quick to rise in applause, Republicans applauded only sporadically, and remained silent when Biden listed his administration’s accomplishments. Several Republican members remained seated throughout.

Jeers, then an ovation

The loudest Republican jeers came when Biden accused Republicans of planning to cut Social Security and Medicare, which some members of the party have suggested but whom Biden said he would not name.

“Liar!” shouted Republican US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.

“We never said that!” said Byron Donalds, another House Republican.

Biden, who seemed to be on the brink of losing control of the room, seized on the apparent Republican lawmakers’ support for the popular old age and healthcare programs, to say: “I enjoy conversion.”

“We got unanimity,” he continued. “Social Security and Medicare are a lifeline for millions of seniors. Americans have to pay into them from the very first paycheck they started. So tonight, so we all agree, and apparently we are, let’s stand up for seniors.”

“Stand up and show them! We will not cut Social Security!” a gleeful-looking Biden said amid cheers as lawmakers from both parties stood.

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