Obama's last State of the Union Address

Barack Obama delivered his last State of the Union address on Tuesday. For some commentators the president is shrouded in an aura of unfinished business. Others praise his achievements in terms of reviving the economy.

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Financial Times (GB) /

Obama did well as regards the economy

At least as regards the economy the situation in the US has clearly changed for the better since Obama first took office, the liberal daily the Financial Times comments:

“Seven years ago, Mr Obama inherited an economy on the brink of depression. The US was shedding 800,000 jobs a month and the world had lost confidence in its financial system. Today America is in its seventh year of growth, having added more than 14m private sector jobs. The reality may not be as glowing as the macro-economic numbers suggest, wages are still lower than they were before the Great Recession, but it is far better than it might have been. Much of the credit should go to Mr Obama’s 847bn stimulus, which he passed with just three Republican votes.”

Diário de Notícias (PT) /

Eloquence without power

US President Barack Obama's last State of the Union address left rather a lot to be desired in terms of eloquence, Bernardo Pires de Lima, expert on international relations, concludes in the liberal-conservative daily Diário de Notícias:

“The temptation to immortalise his legacy led Obama to deliver a minimalist speech about the transformation to which he has subjected the US. He also dealt far too emphatically with a long phase which, seen objectively, he will no longer be able to control. ... To simply say that the US is 'the most powerful country in the world' is not enough to underline all Obama had to do for it to regain that position. He could have presented his achievements with a very different kind of pride. ... One thing is clear: since Jon Favreau, the nation's former leading speechwriter left the White House Obama's narrative power of eloquence has diminished - quite the contrary of what has happened with the power of his country.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Obama couldn't pull others in his wake

Despite his achievements Obama has left the impression of dissatisfaction and unfinished business, the centre-left daily Le Monde comments:

“Strictly speaking this is the result of his strengths. As David Ignatius of the Washington Post said, Obama tried to govern by reason in troubled times. Not with slogans, unfulfillable promises, or absurd but reassuring statements starting with 'All we have to do is ...'. He's the anti-Donald Trump, the anti-Marine Le Pen. Rather than simple statements of protest and radical solutions, he favours compromise, the oxygen of democracy. That's all to his credit. What he lacked was the ability to pull others in his wake, a gift for concise, harsh statements when the time was right, and the art of political horse trading that could translate the ideas of a wise man into facts in troubled times.”