WASHINGTON — President Obama’s second official State of the Union address presented the country with a broad vision of governance in an age of divided political power. But as Obama tried to strike the tone of a president refining his approach following a mid-term election drubbing, on substantive matters his administration doubled down on its agenda.
While Obama skipped over a host of critical policy topics, the proposals he did put forward on Tuesday night either echoed or built off earlier approaches. Even the overarching theme of the address — that America found itself in a Sputnik moment — drew from the past, with the president having invoked the space race during a clean energy speech at MIT in October 2009.
On the specifics, the re-affirmation of past positions was more pronounced. The chief domestic policy component of the speech — a five-year freeze on non-defense discretionary spending to begin, aides say, in 2011 — advanced the three-year freeze Obama called for during his last State of the Union.