On Tuesday night, President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, and it was met with the usual pomp and circumstance, as well as some unexpected heckling from House Republicans. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was particularly vocal in her opposition, shouting out at least nine times that Biden was a liar. Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., were on hand to witness the display.
Despite the vocal opposition, Biden was able to remain confident, optimistic, and professional, distinguishing himself from his detractors. Biden spoke conversationally to Congress and the cameras, leaning into his retail political skills and the laughter and encouragement of the friendly half of the room. He boasted of the 12.1 million jobs created in his first two years, but the job growth was fueled by a post-pandemic recovery that started under his predecessor.
Biden also touted the recent cap on insulin prices for Medicare recipients at $35 per month. But, the law does not shield younger diabetes patients with private insurance or without insurance from higher prices. He also claimed to have cut the deficit by a record $1.7 trillion, though most of that was due to expiring emergency pandemic spending.
In her response to the State of the Union address, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that Biden is more focused on “woke fantasies” than citizens' financial worries and proclaimed him “inadequate to serve.”” Sanders also criticized Biden's policies on immigration and the economy; slammed his gun and police reform proposals; described his foreign policy as weak, and questioned his fitness for office.
The elephant in the room was the Chinese spy balloon incident. Biden glossed over it when speaking about protecting U.S. sovereignty from China’s threats. He also mentioned the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will replace lead pipes in 10 million homes, 400,000 schools, and childcare centers, so Americans can drink clean water.
 He needs to use the platform to convince the public of his vigor, something his detractors have questioned. He showed in his speech that he can ably make and prosecute the case – not just for reelection, but also for Democratic values.
0. “Marjorie Taylor Greene’s fur coat at the State of the Union sent a message” The Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2023/02/08/marjorie-taylor-greene-coat-state-union/
1. “Why was Biden heckled by Republicans at the State of the Union?” Vox.com, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2023/2/8/23590542/biden-heckle-boo-state-of-union-2023-republican-response
2. “No One With a Brain Sees the GOP as the ‘Party of Normal'” The Daily Beast, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.thedailybeast.com/no-one-with-a-brain-sees-the-gop-as-the-party-of-normal
3. “FactChecking the State of the Union” FactCheck.org, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.factcheck.org/2023/02/factchecking-the-state-of-the-union-4/
4. “In State of the Union, Biden highlights drug prices, cancer, and affordable care” Chief Healthcare Executive, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.chiefhealthcareexecutive.com/view/in-state-of-the-union-biden-highlights-drug-prices-cancer-and-affordable-care
5. “Biden proposal to cap all insulin prices at $35 a month has little chance of passing Congress” CNBC, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/02/09/biden-proposal-to-cap-all-insulin-prices-at-35-a-month-has-little-chance-of-passing-congress.html
6. “Biden Strikes Optimistic, Determined Tone in State of the Union” Voice of America – VOA News, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.voanews.com/a/biden-strikes-optimistic-determined-tone-in-state-of-the-union/6953102.html
7. “Biden speech may not help in 2024 race versus Trump, Republicans” CNBC, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/02/09/biden-state-of-the-union-may-not-help-in-2024-election.html
8. “5 takeaways from Biden's State of the Union address” NPR, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.npr.org/2023/02/08/1155329147/5-takeaways-from-bidens-state-of-the-union-address