Swagger!

SOTU

By Atiba Madyun

Did you see the President get “jiggy” with Republicans last night?  If you missed it, you missed a speech blended in off the cuff entertainment, as the President highlighted his Administration’s agenda.

Republicans sat when the President said the “The State of the Union is strong” instead of standing with the Democratic minority as is the customary tradition.  At one point, Republicans sat silent as the President looked in their direction saying with a smile and a wink, “this is good news people.”

When he said “I have no more campaigns to run,” Republicans clapped. He responded on cue and off script, “I know because I won them both.” (Click to view).   Democrats erupted with cheering so loud, it seemed they were in the majority.

Calm and loose as quarterback Russell Wilson leading his team last Sunday to a late game winning touchdown, Obama with swagger and confidence laid out an agenda for “middle class economics.”

He jabbed at Republicans on the minimum wage debate “to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise.”

The President talked about tax relief for the middle class, jobs for veterans, affordable child care for working parents, equal pay for women, paid sick leave and two years of free college tuition to those who work get good grades and work hard.

His swagger gave the impression that he is not a lame duck and will not go silently into the night.  He ended his speech with a unifying message “My fellow Americans, we too are a strong, tight-knit family. We, too, have made it through some hard times. Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America.”

The President assured us that he is working to turn the page and complete the job he started six years ago.  We can sit on the sideline and wait two years for another President to take office. Or we can come together, regardless of political party and work with the President and pressure Congress on both sides to work together.  Which will you be?

View the President’s #SOTU speech here.

Read the President’s #SOTU speech here.

Atiba Madyun is President of The Madyun Group (TMG) a Public Affairs firm based in Washington, DC.

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A 4th Quarter To Remember…..

Comeback

“Don’t call this a comeback. I’ve been here for years!”

“My Presidency is entering the fourth quarter. Interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter.” President Barack Obama

This is the fourth quarter of President Obama’s presidency and tonight’s State of the Union (SOTU) address will be the most important of his Presidency. Based on his activity the past two weeks, we see a roadmap that might work his last two years in office.

Tonight, the President will focus on his achievements and they are significant.  The nation’s economy is stronger and we are better off than we were six years ago!  There have been over 50 months of consistent job growth. The stock market is soaring at historic highs.  Now, he can refocus our attention on education and income inequality proposals that will strengthen the middle class.

He can highlight why he signed executive orders addressing immigration reform, family leave & minimum wage for federal contractors and opening relations with Cuba.  With a contentious Republican Congress opposed to everything the President puts forward, tonight’s SOTU address and events planned tomorrow and Thursday should help the President share his agenda.

The past few weeks, the President and the White House have used social media and speeches to reengage and reenergize Americans. He has met with Americans across the country to put forward proposals that can strengthen the middle class and build on the progress made creating jobs and growing our economy.  (Watch the President discuss increasing broadband speed )

It is important that these things to work to reenergize his base and to get more Americans onboard because as President, Obama has failed to draw large audiences for the SOTU.  His largest audience was 48 million in 2010 and lowest was 33.3 million last year.  Based on Nielson ratings, past Presidents Clinton and Bush drew over 50 million viewers at least once for their State of the Union addresses. 

What these numbers don’t show are who watch on social media or wait for media analysis. The President’s Administration may be more connected to a younger demographic than past presidents, as was evident in his 2008 election and reelection in 2012. 

Events like tomorrow’s Big Block of Cheese Day, where participants ask questions of White House administration officials on social media using hashtag #AskTheWH can only enhance his reach and access to wider audiences. Thursday’s YouTube Interview with President Obama is another opportunity for the President to expand his reach along with numerous WH conference calls with stakeholders hours and days after the SOTU.

That’s why the President’s speech is important. It frames his message on healthcare, climate control, free community college tuition, broadband, net neutrality, the killing of unarmed Americans and killing of police officers, community policing strategies, the economy, taxes, terrorism abroad, job growth, income inequality and immigration.  All important American issues that we can move with FORWARD with him.

How he engages the support of millions of Americans to fulfill his campaign promise to strengthen the middle class leaving no American behind is important tonight and help him finish strong.

Two years passes fast.  The President is reenergized and appears, whether I or you agree or disagree with his executive actions, with the leadership and energy needed to help him finish strong.  It is great to see this fourth quarter push that reminds of the Seattle Seahawks improbable comeback this past Sunday.  They won by giving it all they had even when many like myself thought the game was over when it 16-0 at the half.  Now they are in the Super Bowl because they never quit. 

If the President continues this course and reenergizes his base the sky’s the limit.  If he communicates his plan effectively, I like his chances to finish his Presidency and this fourth quarter in a way that will forever be remembered!

Click here to view Road to SOTU: President’s Policy Proposals to Help All Americans and how to participate Wednesday in Big Block of Cheese Day and Thursday’s YouTube Interview with President Obama