February 25th, 2009
09:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Analysis: Obama takes 'morning in America' mantle

President Obama takes a page from Ronald Reagan's playbook in his speech to Congress.
President Obama takes a page from Ronald Reagan's playbook in his speech to Congress.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama addressed Congress shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday, but a casual viewer might have believed it was actually morning in America.

Watch: Obama lays out agenda

"Morning in America" was the theme of Ronald Reagan's 1984 re-election campaign, and it was front and center in Obama's most critical event since Inauguration Day.

The president who has pledged to reverse much of Reagan's economic revolution took a page from the 40th president's playbook in his 52-minute speech, striking a defiantly optimistic tone that belied the nation's sour mood and rebutted critics who have accused him of intentionally talking down the economy for short-term political gain.

"Though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before," Obama declared to a thunderous round of applause from a packed House chamber.

Delivered against a backdrop of dismal economic news and with polls showing overwhelming majorities of Americans believing the country is on the wrong track, Obama's first speech to Congress amounted to a political tour de force. He proposed what many claim is a complete overhaul of the country's economic foundation while ripping his conservative predecessors for transferring "wealth to the wealthy" and gutting regulations "for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market."

And he did it while employing some of Reagan's favorite rhetorical tools. Obama stuck to a fairly short list of priorities while invoking traditional American values of responsibility, hard work and thrift to pound home a back-to-basics message.

Full story


Filed under: Obama address
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Floyd in New York

    Mr. Obama, you sir! are NO Ronald Reagan!!

    February 25, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. Tom

    Whoa! Mr Silverleib shows a stunning ignorance using Reagan's "Morning in America" metaphor here. Reagan used that theme in 1984, at the end of his first term, to describe how things had turned around for the U.S. Interest rates had come down, inflation was down, GDP was up, markets had recovered, and employment was up. At present, we are still on the way down. Poor analysis.

    February 25, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. E_In_Houston_TX

    TO: worriedmom and JK Ashburn, VA

    Speaking for all of us proud Kool-Aid drinkers, enough already with your criticism. NOBODY cares about anything you have to say.

    A smart person once said that it is stupidity to do the same thing over and over and somehow expect a different result. We have to try something else.

    For eight years the right wing nuts and their GOP cohorts who were supposed to be fiscally responsible were reckless with the country's money. They spent us into a deep hole. Now you want to criticize how we try to dig ourselves out?

    You have no solutions.
    Jindal repeated the same tax cut nonsense as solution to all financial ills last night, and you see the reactions to his speech.

    February 25, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. AVEE capitalcityVA

    WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME, WHY IN GOD'S NAME DO REPORTERS AND PUNDITS THINK RONALD REAGAN WAS SO GREAT?

    HE WAS ONE OF THE WORST ECONOMIC AND EQUALITY PRESIDENTS EVER. AND BUSH 43 WAS JUST LIKE HIM. PLEASE TELL WHAT HE DID THAT WAS SO GREAT!

    TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS. PLEASE!!!

    February 25, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. mamosa

    True patriots want Obama to succeed because this is about survival.

    The rich need to fasten their seat belts because their taxes are going to pay for this. This really will be hard for the party of the rich who have been riding too high. Prepare to hear a lot of Republican squeeling!

    February 25, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. Floyd in New York

    Ronald Reagan was the architect of the largest economic expansion in U.S. history which created 20 million good paying jobs through tax cuts and deregulation!! I was fortunate to get one of those jobs and also had CD'S paying 8.5% and I made ALOT of money in the stock market. All the while we were the envy of the world!! So some of you please don't try to rewrite history if you weren't even alive to experience it!! It was a wonderful time of peace and prosperity and if you failed during the 80's it was no ones fault but your own!!

    February 25, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. Gary

    This guy is useless and he does not know what is he doing. With his speech last night, stocks dwindling again. There is no confidence in his mornings or evenings.

    February 25, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. Alicia

    I thought President Obama's speech was more mantled after FDR. Then again, I am not an expert.

    Loved his necktie! Jeffrey Toobin needs to get a life and look at the ties he wears.

    February 25, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. David

    Son, you're no Reagan. Keep dreaming.

    February 25, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Wally

    To pose a Bill Clinton question- "Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?

    Apply it to Carter-Reagan

    It seems the Dems think the Carter years were much better than the Reagan years.

    February 25, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. Bill

    JK ashburn, VA:
    Right on JK, it's amazing how many people believe the problems with forclosures are all the fault of greedt bankers and the Bush administration, and those believers include the obama. The truth is... The Clinton administration forced bankers, Fannie May and Freddie Mack to make loans to people who could not pay them. check out the dierctive produced by Jammie gorlick, but then, those getting all tingly in the presence of the obama have no desire to know or acknowledge the truth.

    February 25, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. cheryl brooks from cali

    Like a true Head Of State... He's prepared to lead and in the right dirrection... He make history every day, everything he does is marked down, people will remember him for sure.

    February 25, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. Obama all the way

    Democrats have always been for the poor.
    Rebublicans have always been for the rich =and to hell with the poor .

    February 25, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. Adam from NC

    What is that thing in the puke green sweater over Obama's left shoulder? Man? Woman? Or just a walking Botox warning label?

    February 25, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. LUISA FROM NYC NOW IN MD

    WOW! KOOL-AID DRINKERS??!! WHY REFER TO THOSE THAT SUPPORT OUR PRESIDENT AS 'KOOL-AID' DRINKERS? THE NEGATIVE CONNOTATIONS ARE WAY TOO OBVIOUS.

    OBVIOUSLY YOUR DRINK OF CHOICE MUST BE HEMLOCK. I DO NOT HEAR ANYONE IN YOUR CAMP BRINGING FORTH IDEAS THAT MIGHT PUT THIS COUNTRY TO RIGHTS. YOU'RE ALL TOO BUSY SHOOTING DOWN THE IDEAS OF THOSE THAT ARE WORKING NIGHT AND DAY TO TRY AND RECTIFY THE INEXTRICABLE MESS THAT YOUR HEMLOCK DISPENSING LEADER – YES THAT WOULD BE BUSH!- LEFT US IN.

    IF YOU HAVE NOTHING OF VALUE TO CONTRIBUTE TO A DIALOGUE, IT IS BEST TO BE QUIET AND LEARN SOMETHING FROM THOSE THAT DO. EVEN IF OBAMA IS WRONG IN HIS APPROACH, NOTHING BEATS A FAILURE BUT A TRY! HE'S TRYING! CAN YOU SAY THE SAME?

    February 25, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. cnnnewser

    President Obama was awesome – Bobby Jindal was irresponsible.
    The republicans just don't get it, and it was very clear last night with their republican response to President Obama.
    The republicans are officially clueless.

    February 25, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. cnnnewser

    President Obama was awesome – Bobby Jindal was irresponsible.
    The republicans just don't get it, and it was very clear last night with their republican response to President Obama.
    The republicans are officially clueless.

    February 25, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Mari

    Oh boy, the VILE comments from the far-right, are SO typical! You people, offer NO solutions..... no ideas..... just continue to spew hate, lies, fear and division!

    We are a Nation in crisis, and instead of doing the right thing, and cooperating for the GOOD of our Nation.... what do the GOPers do?

    OBSTRUCT. The GOPers, are once more on the WRONG side!

    @ JK ASHBURN VA.... DID YOU MOURN WHEN BUSH LIED ABOUT THE REASO TO ATTACK IRAQ?

    DID YOU MOURN WHEN OUR TROOPS DIED FOR A LIE?

    DID YOU MOURN AS YOU WATCHED BUSH ..... DOUBLE .... OUR NATIONAL DEBT??

    DID YOU MOURN WHEN BUSH DECLARED THAT THE ..... DEFICIT... FOR 2009..... WOULD BE OVER .... ONE.... TRILLION???

    DID YOU MOURN WHEN BUSH & PAULSEN ASKED AMERICA TO BAIL OUT THEIR FRIENDS ON WALL STREET.... WHILE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS ARE LOSING THEIR HOMES AND JOBS????

    February 25, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. Splurge

    Leave it to CNN. If Obama doesn't say Morning in America CNN will do it for him just like they inserted "really" into Michelle's infamous, "I never felt proud to be an american" line. Did anyone really think that CNN would become objective once they helped elect Obama? If anything, they've just become more empowered.

    February 25, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. Joyce in Indiana

    @JK Ashburn, VA 11:19 am

    A problem with what you are complaining about is that a lot of people have worked hard all their lives and get downsized, or get buried under debt because of family illness, or get lied to by unscrupulous mortgage brokers whom they trusted to get them through a complicated process, or lose most of the value in their 401K because of big companies' and big banks' bad decisions.

    I'm not sure who else can or should step in to provide relief if it's not the federal government and those of us who are still lucky enough to be paying federal taxes. Any suggestions? Or are they just out of luck?

    February 25, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. Gerald

    A Ronald Regan he is not , funny that the stock market knew this since his election last year. Hope is not a plan.

    February 25, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. RZA

    What was so great about Ronald Reagan?

    Was it the lying about Iran/Contra?

    Was it the way he ran up the federal deficit?

    The "ketchup as a vegetable" school lunches? The way he armed the Taliban? His trickle down Voodoo economics? What?

    When did he do that was so all-fired remarkable?

    February 25, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. fearful for my country

    Just looking at that picture above gives me shivers. To think that those three idiots are running our country is frightening. Its downright scarey. God help us.

    February 25, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  24. MZ

    Just goes to prove, if you PROMISE EVERYTHING to EVERYBODY then EVERYBODY will LIKE it. Everybody, apparently, EXCEPT the stock market !!!!
    I guess that's because the investors who actually create the jobs calculated how much " change " his Change is going to take out of our pockets !!!!

    February 25, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  25. No Hillary = No Obama

    Stop already with this figurative nonsense. What has this guy done but give speeches? How long does it take for the infatuation to wear off? We get rid of Bush and now we have Joe Cheerleader running the country.

    February 25, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
1 2 3

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.