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    President Biden’s State of the Union: Heckling, Re-Election Prospects, and Labor

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    More than a decade ago, the prospect of Republicans heckling and jeering during a Presidential address was almost unthinkable. But at President Joe Biden's State of the Union address Tuesday night, that's exactly what happened.[0] Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) led the heckling and shouting, calling Biden a liar when he accused some Republicans of wanting to sunset Social Security and Medicare.[1] However, Biden was ready and rolled with the interruptions, using them to reinforce his message and even garner a smile from the audience.[2] He quipped, “I enjoy conversion” and proceeded to get the entire chamber to applaud for preserving the programs, turning his critics into props in his performance.[3]

    Now, Biden is looking to the future, with a potential re-election campaign on the horizon.[4] While Democrats have to worry that voters will be resistant to electing someone who will be 86 at the end of his second term, Biden needs to overcome a nagging reality.[4] But according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll this week, only 37 percent of Democrats want Biden to run for re-election.[5]

    When it comes to policing reform, Biden introduced the parents of Tyre Nichols — killed in a beating by police in Memphis last month — and trumpeted his proposals to reduce police violence.[0] However, he steered far clear of the anti-police rhetoric embraced by some on the left.[0] A Morning Consult/Politico poll from May 2021 revealed that there was a 9-point rise in the number of white respondents and a 15-point increase in the number of Republicans who deemed police violence a “very” or “somewhat” serious issue in the U.S.[6]

    Biden also emphasized the importance of labor during his speech, promoting his record on job creation and echoing themes from his State of the Union address.[7] He is the nearest thing we’ve had to a blue-collar president in more than a generation, and he’s made labor a cornerstone of his administration.[8] The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, according to the speaker, will enable the U.S. to change out lead pipes that are going into 10 million homes, 400,000 schools, and childcare centers.[9] The Biden administration also announced “new actions and progress” to remove lead pipes and paint.[9]

    0. “Republicans Turn Themselves Into Props for Biden” POLITICO, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/02/08/republicans-props-biden-state-of-the-union-00081774

    1. “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/

    2. “How Biden’s State of the Union Successfully Baited Congressional Republicans” The Atlantic, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/02/state-union-joe-biden-congress-republicans/672984

    3. “Republicans Keep Underestimating Joe Biden” The Atlantic, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/02/republicans-keep-underestimating-joe-biden/672997

    4. “State of the Union shows Biden focused on 2024, not economy, inflation” USA TODAY, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/columnist/2023/02/08/biden-state-union-not-message-americans-needed-economy/11203732002

    5. “Opinion: The GOP is playing right into Biden's hands” CNN, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/09/opinions/gop-antics-biden-likeability-2024-election-mcgowan-silva/index.html

    6. “Why Biden’s Promise Of Police Reform Might Not Lead To Change” FiveThirtyEight, 8 Feb. 2023, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-bidens-promise-of-police-reform-might-not-lead-to-change/

    7. “President Joe Biden speaks about job creation near Madison” Wisconsin Public Radio, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.wpr.org/president-joe-biden-speak-job-creation-madison-visit

    8. “Opinion: Biden squandered this opportunity during State of the Union” CNN, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/08/opinions/biden-state-of-the-union-immigration-downes/index.html

    9. “FactChecking the State of the Union” FactCheck.org, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.factcheck.org/2023/02/factchecking-the-state-of-the-union-4/

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