Obama's State of the Union address: The climate since Scott Brown's election
President Obama did not mention the name Scott Brown -- the Republican who stunned Democrats last week by winning the Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal lion of Massachusetts. But the president didn’t have to.
Brown’s presence was felt tonight during the president’s first State of the Union address.
Obama alluded to the political climate since Brown’s election. He didn’t spell it out, but it in essence it’s this: Republicans have called the Brown victory, which gave them a crucial 41st vote in the Senate, a repudiation of Obama’s policies. Some Democrats say that it’s time to reconsider many parts of their agenda.
Obama said he would not give up on trying to elevate the tone of American politics, but he also had this to say:
“I know it’s an election year. And after last week, it is clear that campaign fever has come even earlier than usual. But we still need to govern. To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades, and the people expect us to solve some problems, not run for the hills.”
He also noted that it takes 60 votes to prevent a filibuster in the Senate, something is almost impossible now that the GOP has 41 votes.
“And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that 60 votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town, then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well,” Obama said. “Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it’s not leadership.”
Obama said that later this week he would address a meeting of the House Republicans. “And I would like to begin monthly meetings with both the Democratic and Republican leadership,” he added. “I know you can’t wait.”
-- Steve Padilla
In this Jan. 19, 2010 file photo, then-Massachusetts Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown waves to supporters after voting in Wrentham, Mass. A once-dismissed loose confederation of Tea Party activists opposed to big government, bailouts and higher taxes is causing heartburn for establishment candidates across the country. They swept into Massachusetts with lightning speed when polls began to show that the eventual winner, Brown, in last week's special election had a shot at upsetting Democrat Martha Coakley for the Senate seat that liberal lion Edward M. Kennedy had held almost 47 years. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)