THE FOREIGN/DOMESTIC BALANCE…. The last several State of the Union addresses have been broken up into two parts — a look at domestic policy and a look at foreign policy. Given the economic crisis and the public’s concerns, it seemed obvious that President Obama would start with the home front, and he did.
I’m a little surprised to see him face some criticism for this. Around 10 p.m. last night:
* The Politico‘s Glenn Thrush had an item noting, “It took President Obama 46 minutes to mention terrorism, the military or foreign affairs.”
* Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) used his Twitter feed last night to complain, “We are at war — seems to me honoring our troops should come on page one rather than the end of the speech.”
* ABC News’ “The Note” asked, “Took a LONG while to get to foreign policy, no?”
The problem isn’t what Obama said about foreign policy and national security; the problem, apparently, is when he said it.
In the midst of an economic collapse, the president is facing criticism for starting with the economy in a national address? Really?
For what it’s worth, the Republican response from Bobby Jindal was more than 2,000 words long, but only mentioned foreign affairs briefly, in passing, towards the end of his remarks. Unlike the president, the Louisiana governor didn’t mention Iraq, Afghanistan, or al Qaeda at all.
Update: The Politico‘s Glenn Thrush follows up, noting that his observation was not necessarily intended as criticism: “I made no judgment, just wanted to point out how thoroughly domestic issues and the economic crisis dominated the speech — a stark contrast to the Bush years.”