State of the Union updates and analysis: Biden says ‘the soul of this nation is strong’
Written by ABC Audio ALL RIGHTS RESERVED on February 8, 2023
(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday night delivered his second State of the Union address in a pivotal moment as he laid out not only his accomplishments and agenda but made the case for his leadership ahead of an expected announcement on running for reelection.
Unlike his first two years in office, Republicans now control the House of Representatives and Speaker Kevin McCarthy, sitting behind the president for the first time, has threatened to block Biden’s agenda.
Partners at FiveThirtyEight provided analysis in the blog below before, during and after Biden’s speech.
Here’s how the story developed:
Feb 07, 11:50 PM EST
Rep. Ciscomani gives Spanish-language rebuttal to State of the Union
Rep. Juan Ciscomani, R-Ariz., delivered the Spanish-language Republican rebuttal to Biden’s State of the Union speech.
Ciscomani, a freshman lawmaker who immigrated to the U.S. with his family as a child, focused his remarks on the need to preserve the “American Dream” and for the Republican House majority to offer “a different direction” to address problems facing the nation.
“The American dream feels more unattainable and, sadly, President Biden fails to show leadership and present any viable solution,” Ciscomani said. “He hasn’t had any answers and clearly still doesn’t. As House Republicans, we have already begun to offer a different direction to address the most significant issues impacting American families.”
Under House Speaker McCarthy, Ciscomani said Republicans need to protect Social Security and Medicare, fight inflation, increase border security, restore energy independence, reduce crime and more.
“Let’s put aside our differences and focus on results to keep this dream alive for future generations,” Ciscomani said in closing. “The state of our union is strong because our people are strong. We can overcome any obstacle. Our best days lie ahead.”
Feb 07, 11:49 PM EST
Trump responds to Biden’s speech
Former President Donald Trump, who is running for the White House again in 2024, released a brief video response to Biden’s address, painting a much grimmer picture of the nation and pointing to the state of crime, inflation and the southern border as the “real state of the union.”
“But the good news is we are going to reverse every single crisis, calamity and disaster that Joe Biden has created,” Trump said in the two-minute video. “I am running for president to end the destruction of our country and to complete the unfinished business of making America great again.”
Separately, Trump live-reacted to Biden’s address on Truth Social, posting on the social media site over 30 times to comment on Biden and others in the chamber — including mocking Biden for frequently saying “folks.”
Feb 07, 11:45 PM EST
Sanders looks ahead to ‘next generation’ of Republican leaders
“It’s time for a new generation to lead,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said as she wrapped up her remarks giving the Republican response to the State of the Union address. “This is our moment. This is our opportunity.”
It will be a generation, she said, “born in the waning decades of the last century, shaped by economic booms and stock market busts, forged by the triumph of the Cold War and the tragedy of 9/11.”
“A generation brimming with passion and new ideas to solve age-old problems,” she continued. “A generation moored to our deepest values and oldest traditions, yet unafraid to challenge the present order and find a better way forward.”
The Arkansas governor, the youngest state leader in the nation, took a moment to tout her soon-to-be-released education proposal. School choice has emerged as a leading Republican issue the past few election cycles, and Sanders said her plan is “the “most far-reaching, bold conservative education reform in the country.”
Feb 07, 11:47 PM EST
SOTU reaction was ‘nice,’ not ‘rowdy’ despite GOP heckling, Biden tells ABC
Biden told ABC News’ Will Steakin that he thought the reception to his State of the Union speech was “nice” when asked what he thought of the occasionally rowdy reaction from some Republicans while he spoke.
“Rowdy? I thought it was a nice reception,” Biden said with a smile and laugh.
His remarks were met with several rounds of GOP interjections, notably when he spoke about how Republicans could try to cut Social Security and Medicare — although he noted he wasn’t saying the “majority” of Republicans wanted to do so, and Speaker McCarthy has ruled it out.
Feb 07, 11:41 PM EST
Sanders paints picture of country ‘hijacked’ by radical left
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, delivering the Republican response to the State of the Union, offered a bleak picture of Biden’s presidency.
“In the radical left’s America, Washington taxes you and lights your hard-earned money on fire but you get crushed with high gas prices, empty grocery shelves and our children are taught to hate one another on account of their race but not to love one another or our great country,” she said. “Whether Joe Biden believes this madness or is simply too weak to resist it, his administration has been completely hijacked by the radical left.”
Sanders called Biden “unfit to serve” as she criticized his handling of the southern border, crime, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and more.
“Every day we are told we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags and worship their false idols,” she said of Democrats. “All while big government colludes with big tech to strip away the most American thing there is: your freedom of speech. That’s not normal. It’s crazy. And it’s wrong.”
Feb 07, 11:38 PM EST
The State of the Union response is a time for rising stars
The opposition response to the State of the Union has been around for more than half a century, but in modern times the opposition party has often used it to showcase a new, high-profile figure. It’s no different this year, as Republicans were represented by Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served as a press secretary in the Trump White House.
Sanders just won her new office in November, making her the first woman governor in Arkansas’s history. This puts her right at home with many first-term governors, senators and representatives who’ve given a response speech in recent years. Previous orators include Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia in 2006, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in 2013, Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa in 2015 and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan in 2020.
And with the proliferation of response speeches in different languages and from various party factions, even more fresh faces are in the limelight this year. First-term GOP Rep. Juan Ciscomani of Arizona gave the Spanish-language response for his party, while first-term Democratic Rep. Delia Ramirez of Illinois offered the Working Families Party’s response.
Feb 07, 11:23 PM EST
‘Democrats have failed you,’ Sanders says in GOP response
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered the Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union, in which he called on Congress to “finish the job” on health care, the economy, policing and more.
“Being a mom to three young children taught me not to believe every story I hear. So, forgive me for not believing much of anything I heard tonight from President Biden. From out-of-control inflation and violent crime to the dangerous border crisis and threat from China, Biden and the Democrats have failed you,” Sanders said.
She quickly drew on some key differences between her and Biden, saying they “don’t have a lot in common.”
“At 40, I’m the youngest governor in the country. At 80, he’s the oldest president in American history,” she said. “I’m the first woman to lead my state. He’s the first man to surrender his presidency to a woke mob that can’t even tell you what a woman is.”
Feb 07, 11:20 PM EST
President’s passing reference to spy balloon as he discusses China
While he didn’t directly mention it, Biden made a passing reference to what the federal government said was a Chinese surveillance balloon that flew for days over the continental U.S. before being shot down by the military on Saturday.
“I’m committed to work with China where we can advance American interests and benefit the world,” Biden said as he spoke briefly about foreign policy. “But make no mistake about it, as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country and we did.”
Biden argued that “winning the competition with China should unite all of us.”
Feb 07, 11:14 PM EST
President ends on optimism about bridging American divides
With the final lines of his 2023 State of the Union address, the president told the joint session of Congress that they are at an “inflection point”: “We must see each other not as enemies but as fellow Americans. We are a good people, the only nation in the world built on an idea,” he said.
Biden ended his speech telling the nation that the state of the union is strong, alluding to the fulfillment of one of his campaign promises — to restore “the soul” of the nation.
“Because the soul of this nation is strong, because the backbone of this nation is strong, because the people of this nation are strong, the state of the union is strong,” he said.
“As I stand here tonight, I have never been more optimistic about the future of America. We just have to remember who we are,” he said.
Feb 07, 11:10 PM EST
Biden references Paul Pelosi, recovering from assault, when speaking against extremism
While talking about the political violence that has occurred in the country over the past few years, Biden called out to Paul Pelosi, the husband of Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who was violently assaulted in his San Francisco home in October, with authorities saying the suspect was seeking his wife.
Biden linked the assault on Paul Pelosi to the violence on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob — attempting to subvert the certification of Biden’s presidency — attacked the Capitol.
“Just a few months ago … an assailant unleashed political violence in the home of the then-speaker of this House of Representatives. Using the very same language that insurrectionists who stalked these halls chanted on Jan. 6,” Biden said.
He pointed to “my friend, Paul Pelosi,” with Nancy Pelosi seen from the House floor waving and looking up at her husband, who was seated in the first lady’s box.
“Here tonight in this chamber is the man who bears the scars of that brutal attack but is as tough and strong and as resilient as they get,” Biden said.
Biden, noting that “such a heinous act never should have happened,” said that American voting rights and election integrity must be safeguarded in order to curb that extremism.
“There is no place for political violence in America. In America, we must protect the right to vote, not suppress that fundamental right. We honor the results of our elections, not subvert the will of the people. We must uphold the rule of the law and restore trust in our institutions of democracy,” he said.
Feb 07, 11:04 PM EST
Personal stories of those impacted by cancer, opioid epidemic
As he reupped his “Unity Agenda” — aimed at improving mental health, supporting veterans, beating the opioid epidemic and fighting cancer — Biden shared personal stories of some of the guests in the audience.
“Joining us tonight is a father named Doug from Newton, New Hampshire,” Biden said. “He wrote Jill and me a letter about his daughter Courtney. Contagious laugh. Her sister’s best friend. … Courtney discovered pills in high school. It spiraled into addiction and eventually her death from a fentanyl overdose. She was 20 years old.”
Biden said her family’s been working since her death to end stigma and change laws. “Doug, we’re with you,” he said.
He next introduced Maurice and Kandice, whose daughter Ava was diagnoses with a rare kidney cancer when she was a 1-year-old. Ava had to undergo 26 blood transfusions, 11 rounds of radiation, eight rounds of chemo and had one of her kidneys removed, Biden said.
“They never gave up hope,” Biden said. “Ava never gave up hope. She turns 4 next month. They just found out that Ava beat the odds and is on her way to being cancer free, and she’s watching from the White House tonight.”
The president, whose oldest son, Beau, died of cancer, has made working to end the disease a major health priority of his administration.
Feb 07, 11:02 PM EST
Marjorie Taylor Greene makes waves yelling back at Biden
Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene pulled a political stunt ahead of Biden’s State of the Union by patrolling the halls of Congress with a white balloon. The move was an apparent reference to GOP criticism over how the president’s administration handled a suspected Chinese spy balloon that floated over the U.S. for several days. That wasn’t it, though. Throughout Biden’s speech on Tuesday, Greene was caught on the hot mic yelling “you lie” and “liar.”
But those disruptions — no matter how tense — shouldn’t be too surprising. As I’ve written previously, Greene is arguably part of the most incendiary wing of the House GOP. Of course, Greene has always been a congressional rabble-rouser, but her latest move might catch some by surprise considering that she’s attempted to dip her foot — or at least a pinky toe — in more establishment categories as of late.
Feb 07, 10:57 PM EST
Abortion wasn’t a big topic in State of the Union
Toward the end of his speech, President Biden called on Congress to codify Roe v. Wade and promised to veto a national abortion ban. But that was pretty much all he had to say about the issue, which was noteworthy given what an eventful year it’s been for abortion rights and access. Since the Supreme Court overruled Roe last summer, more than a dozen states have imposed near-total bans on abortion and the support for abortion access ended up being a major issue in the 2022 midterms.
Biden’s lack of attention to the issue might be reflective of the fact that there’s really not much he can do when it comes to abortion rights — Democrats in Congress didn’t have the votes to codify Roe last fall, and with a divided Congress, there isn’t likely to be more action. State legislatures and courts will have a much bigger impact on abortion access in the meantime. But some Democrats might have wanted Biden to say more on the topic, because their views on abortion are changing. For example, polling by Civiqs shows that Democrats are more likely to support legal abortion in all cases than they were even two years ago.
Feb 07, 10:54 PM EST
What Biden said he would veto if it comes to his desk
President Biden drew several red lines as he addressed the new Republican majority in the House.
On health care, Biden said if anyone tried to “do anything to raise the cost of prescription drugs” — like repeal the Inflation Reduction Act provisions — he would veto it. He said the same if lawmakers passed a national abortion ban, prompting cheers from Democrats.
Biden also delivered a firm stance on Social Security and Medicare, calling them a “lifeline for millions” that he won’t let be taken away, which leading Republicans have echoed.
Feb 07, 10:53 PM EST
Some presidents say a lot more than others during the State of the Union
Biden’s remarks on Tuesday totaled roughly 7,300 words. That’s on the high side historically, which led to a lengthy speech: Since Lyndon Johnson’s first evening national address in 1965, the average word count is around 5,500 words. Now, those totals have varied quite a bit, ranging from Jimmy Carter’s laconic 3,300 words in 1979 to Bill Clinton’s loquacious 9,200 words in 1995. For his part, Biden’s speech is slightly shorter than his first national address in 2021 (8,000 words) and last year’s State of the Union (7,700).
Of course, different people speak at different rates, so what takes one person five minutes to say might take another eight. Not to mention, applause breaks have become commonplace. For his part, Biden’s two previous speeches to Congress have each lasted a touch over an hour, and he came in a little above that mark again this evening. By comparison, Donald Trump’s speeches contained somewhat fewer words than Biden’s, ranging from 5,000 to 6,200 words. But Trump spoke for around one hour and 20 minutes in three of his four national addresses. Still, no one can rival the master of stemwinders: Clinton’s final State of the Union, in 2000, lasted nearly one-and-a-half hours.
Feb 07, 10:17 PM EST
State of the Union viewership is driven by partisanship
Biden might like to imagine that his State of the Union address is not only a chance to lay out his agenda for the country but also an opportunity to change a few Republican minds.
However, odds are that Biden’s audience mostly consists of people who already agree with him about most things: Democrats.
In his first two addresses to joint sessions of Congress in 2021 and 2022 (the first technically wasn’t a State of the Union), polls found that around half of the viewership identified as Democrats, while around one-fifth to one-quarter identified as Republicans.
There isn’t anything unusual about this sort of partisan gap, though: Historically, people who identify with the president’s party are more likely to watch the State of the Union, based on polling since Bill Clinton’s presidency.
In other words, the State of the Union can sometimes verge on a pep rally, with the president working to animate his supporters in the room and at home with applause lines. Now, Biden also made bipartisan and even nonpartisan overtures in an effort to appeal across and beyond party lines. But as the trend in the chart above suggests, far fewer Republicans are likely watching his speech than Democrats.
Feb 07, 10:19 PM EST
The Supreme Court’s approval ratings are historically low
Biden called on Congress to “restore the right that was taken away in Roe v. Wade,” referring to nationwide abortion access, to a huge round of applause from Democrats. The Supreme Court is usually the most popular branch of government. But over the past few years — particularly since the high court overruled Roe last summer — Americans’ views have diverged sharply by party. A poll conducted last August found that perspectives on the Supreme Court were historically polarized, with a gaping 45-point gap between Republicans and Democrats.
The sharp divide was driven by a nosedive in Democrats’ views of the court. In the poll, only 28% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents had a favorable view of the court in August, down nearly 40 points from 2020. The shift is undoubtedly related to the Supreme Court’s right turn since the fall of 2020, when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and was replaced by Amy Coney Barrett, who was the third justice to be appointed by former President Donald Trump. Barrett ended up being a critical vote in the case that overruled Roe.
Feb 07, 10:22 PM EST
Biden echoes GOP in focus on COVID-19 relief fraud
The president spent relatively little time in his speech talking about an issue that defined the first year of his presidency and the last year of his predecessor’s time in office: COVID-19. Biden wrapped up remarks on the impacts of the pandemic throughout the nation, including the death of more than one million from the virus, and he said he would zealously seek to prosecute criminals who stole relief money meant to aid the nation through the depths of the virus’ spread.
“And as we emerge from this crisis stronger, I’m also doubling down on prosecuting criminals who stole relief money meant to keep workers and small businesses afloat during the pandemic,” Biden said.
“Now, let’s triple our anti-fraud strike forces going after these criminals, double the statute of limitations on these crimes and crack down on identity fraud by criminal syndicates stealing billions of dollars from the American people,” he said.
Biden’s remarks come after the GOP-led House Oversight Committee held its first hearing of the 118th Congress on COVID-19 “fraudsters” who engaged in the “massive waste, fraud and abuse in COVID relief programs.”
“We owe it to the American people to get to the bottom of the greatest theft of American taxpayer dollars in history,” Chairman James Comer said in his opening statement.
Feb 07, 10:28 PM EST
Can lawmakers actually ‘finish the job’ on police reform, as Biden wants?
The parents of Tyre Nichols, the 29-year-old Black man who was attacked by Memphis, Tennessee, police officers and later died, were present at Tuesday’s State of the Union, where President Biden encouraged lawmakers to “come together and finish the job on police reform.”
That may be easier said than done, though. A compromise on a federal policing bill died in the Senate in 2021 and key GOP lawmakers have already expressed skepticism that federal police reform measures would have prevented Nichols’s death.
Another issue, though, is that many Republican voters don’t think that there’s a systemic issue with policing, according to recent polls. A new ABC News/Washington Post survey, for example, found that 72% of Republicans are confident that the police treat both Black and white people equally, compared with just 14% of Democrats. Another survey by the Pew Research Center, meanwhile, found that 70% of Republicans and Republican-leaners said that police across the country do at least a good job at treating racial and ethnic groups equally, while just 18% of Democrats and Democratic-leaners voiced the same opinion.
Of course, that’s not to say reform can’t happen. Biden and the Congressional Black Caucus are talking about what reforms they want to see passed. But even though some polls show an overall drop in confidence toward the police since July 2020, gains in support for reform, among white Americans in particular, tend to be fleeting. So action on policing is anything but a sure-fire thing.
Feb 07, 10:31 PM EST
Ukraine is a relatively strong issue for Biden
As Biden touts his support for Ukraine in its war against Russia — calling it out as one of his defining successes of the past year — he is speaking from a position of relative strength: Americans generally feel better about Biden’s Ukraine policies than about his domestic ones. For example, a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found that his approval rating on the Russia-Ukraine conflict (38%) was higher than on the economy (37%) or the immigration situation on the U.S.-Mexico border (28%).
In addition, according to Gallup polling, a plurality of Americans (39%) think the U.S. is doing the right amount to help Ukraine, while 30% think the U.S. is not doing enough and only 28% think it is doing too much. However, as my colleague Cooper Burton wrote last month, support for aiding Ukraine has cooled a bit since the war started in February 2022, thanks in large part to decreased enthusiasm among Republicans.
Feb 07, 10:36 PM EST
Republicans boo claim they’d target Medicare, Social Security
One of the night’s more contentious moments came when discussing the debt ceiling and the White House’s disagreements with Republicans on government borrowing and spending.
“Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage unless I agree to their economic plans,” Biden argued. “All of you at home should know what those plans are. Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset.”
The remark was met with resounding boos, and GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene could be seen calling out “liar.”
Speaker McCarthy has also publicly said potential cuts to Medicare and Social Security are “off the table.”
Biden continued on to say that he didn’t think it was a majority of Republicans or even a significant number, and that he was “politely not naming them.”
Based on the booing, he said, “So folks, we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare off the books now, right?” he said, which was followed by applause. “All right, we got unanimity.”
“Let’s stand up for seniors,” he added. “If anyone tries to cut Medicare, I will stop them, I will veto it.”
Feb 07, 10:37 PM EST
Immigration is one of Biden’s weakest issues
Biden is making the argument that his immigration policies have improved the situation at the southern border. However, Americans may not buy it. Poll after poll suggests that Biden’s approval ratings are weakest on immigration. For example, ABC News/Washington Post’s latest poll found that his approval/disapproval rating on the immigration situation at the border is just 28% approval compared to 59% disapproval. And a January poll from Quinnipiac University had even worse numbers for him: Only 18% approved of his handling of the situation on the Mexican border, while 68% disapproved. That was the lowest that number has ever been in Quinnipiac’s polling.
Feb 07, 10:41 PM EST
Room stands as Biden welcomes Tyre Nichols’ parents
As Biden turned to discuss policing and public safety in his address, he took a moment to welcome the parents of Tyre Nichols, the 29-year-old Black man who died last month after being assaulted by police in Memphis, Tennessee.
His mother, RowVaughn Wells, and his stepfather, Rodney Wells, received a standing ovation from those gathered in the chamber.
“What happened to Tyre in Memphis happens too often. We have to do better,” Biden said. “Give law enforcement the training they need, hold them to higher standards and help them succeed in keeping everyone safe.”
The president called for more resources to reduce violent crime, more community intervention programs and more investments in housing, education and job training.
“Let’s commit ourselves to make the words of Tyre’s mother come true, something good must come from this,” he said.
While lawmakers in both parties said after Nichols died that they would like to pursue a compromise on policing reform, previous such efforts have failed in Congress.
Feb 07, 10:59 PM EST
‘Pass my proposal for a billionaire minimum tax,’ Biden tells Congress
Following remarks on his attempts to build out a “hollowed” middle class, Biden shifted to discussing his goal of making billionaires and corporations pay more in taxes.
“Corporations ought to do the right thing … That’s why I propose that we quadruple the tax on corporate stock buybacks to encourage long-term investments instead,” the president said.
“Let’s finish the job and close the loopholes that allow the very wealthy to avoid paying their taxes,” he said, urging Congress: “Reward work, not just wealth. Pass my proposal for a billionaire minimum tax.”
House Speaker McCarthy, however, has pushed back. He said on Monday when speaking on the debt ceiling: “Defaulting on our debt is not an option but neither is a future of higher taxes.”
Biden’s new proposal comes after a sticking point in the Inflation Reduction Act’s passage, a 1% excise tax on share buybacks that was added to the landmark bill in order to move forward.
Democrats stripped from the bill a tax break favoring wealthy hedge-fund managers called the “carried interest loophole” before its passage.
Feb 07, 10:09 PM EST
SOTU is a soft-launch for Biden 2024
Biden may still be some ways from formally declaring his intentions about a 2024 reelection campaign, but his message on Tuesday — he wants to “finish the job” — certainly hints at another bid.
Yet this comes in the face of polls that have shown an unusually high percentage of Americans don’t want him to run again — including Democrats. In a new ABC News/Washington Post survey, 58% of Democrats said they wanted the party to nominate someone other than Biden, a finding echoed by a recent AP/NORC survey, too. Now, it’s not unheard of for the public to prefer that a president not run again. For instance, majorities told pollsters at different points in 1982 and 1983 that they didn’t want Ronald Reagan, another older president, to run again. But in those polls, a majority of Republicans still wanted four more years of Reagan, in contrast to what Democrats are saying in polls about Biden.
However, none of this means Biden will be an underdog in the 2024 Democratic primary. Fact is, elected presidents rarely face serious opposition for renomination. Importantly, Biden has a solid approval rating among Democrats — around 80% or better in most polls — so while many Democrats express skepticism toward another Biden run, most also don’t mind how he’s governing the country. This complicates any would-be challenger justifying a campaign against Biden.
Moreover, the potential Democratic candidates polling best against Biden are in his administration — Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg — making them unlikely to run against him. Although we can’t discount someone from the left taking on Biden, the leftward threat posed by Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders faded when he encouraged the party to coalesce around Biden ahead of Super Tuesday in 2020 — before Biden was the clear leader of his party. Barring a major collapse in Biden’s standing, then, a serious primary challenge appears unlikely.
Feb 07, 9:48 PM EST
‘The climate crisis doesn’t care if your state is red or blue’
Noting he has seen firsthand the devastation from record floods, storms and wildfires, the president discussed efforts to prepare for the long-term — such as building electric grids, roads and water systems to help weather the next big storm and flood.
“Let’s face reality. The climate crisis doesn’t care if your state is red or blue. It’s an existential threat,” Biden said. “We have an obligation to our children and grandchildren to confront it.”
“We’re still going to need oil and gas for a while, but there’s so much more to do,” he continued.
Feb 07, 11:19 PM EST
On health care, Biden says there is still more to do
After touting his administration’s victories on the economy, Biden spoke about the concerns that he said Americans have about about health care.
“For example, too many of you lay in bed at night staring at the ceiling, wondering what in God’s name happens if your spouse gets cancer or your child gets deadly ill or if something happens to you,” he said. “Are you going to have the money to pay your medical bills? Are you going to have to sell the house?”
Biden said his administration is bringing costs down so “you can sleep better at night” — including measures to cap the cost of insulin for seniors on Medicare and give Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices and enhanced Affordable Care Act subsidies that has lowered premiums.
Still, he said there is more work to do, like capping insulin prices for all Americans who need it and extending the lifespan of benefits.
“Let’s finish the job, make those savings permanent and expand coverage to those left off Medicaid,” he said.
Feb 07, 10:00 PM EST
Biden flaunts a growing economy through infrastructure and manufacturing inroads
Biden touted his legislative accomplishments during his State of the Union address by linking what he called a growing economy and successful jobs report to his agenda.
“Now we’re coming back because we came together to pass the bipartisan infrastructure law, the largest investment in infrastructure since President [Dwight] Eisenhower’s interstate highway system,” Biden said in his speech.
“Jobs are coming back, pride is coming back, because of the choices we made in the last two years. This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America and make a real difference in your lives,” he argued.
Biden said that he ran to be president so that he might “fundamentally change things” and make sure the economy works for everyone.
“For decades, the middle class was hollowed out,” Biden said, painting a picture of a thriving, manufacturing-focused America before jobs moved overseas and factories shut down.
“So, let’s look at the results. Unemployment rate at 3.4%, a 50-year low. Near record low unemployment for Black and Hispanic workers … We’ve already created 800,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs, the fastest growth in 40 years,” he said.
Biden painted a rosy picture of historically high inflation, which has been slowing for months after becoming a major source of political and economic pain. But Biden attributed it to the impacts of COVID-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Inflation has been a global problem because of the pandemic that disrupted supply chains and Putin’s war that disrupted energy and food supplies,” he said. “We have more to do. But here at home, inflation is coming down.”
Feb 07, 9:44 PM EST
Biden seems to be trying to remind voters of his accomplishments
So far in his speech, Biden has been touting bills passed under his watch, such as the Inflation Reduction Act and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. He may feel he needs to reintroduce the country to them because Americans largely don’t think he’s gotten much done during his administration. According to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, only 36% of Americans believe he has accomplished a great deal or a good amount, and 62% believe he has accomplished only a little or nothing.
Biden is likely also betting that that public will like what they hear about his accomplishments, and he might be right: Data for Progress recently found that, after Americans were read a short description of the Inflation Reduction Act, 68% of likely voters said they supported it.
Feb 07, 9:36 PM EST
Biden says the economy is improving, but Americans may not agree
President Biden opened his speech by touting the country’s economic strength. He got a big boost from Friday’s jobs report, which showed that about half a million jobs were added to the economy in January, which was much higher than analysts predicted. There are other indicators that look good for Biden, too — in December, inflation slowed for the sixth straight month, ebbing from historic highs that had become a source of major criticism of him and his administration.
But the strong job growth under Biden has to be taken in context. Tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs in the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the labor market was still recovering when Biden took office in January 2021. And although the unemployment rate is at its lowest point in decades, as Biden also noted, Americans don’t necessarily think the economy is improving. According to polling by Civiqs, confidence in the economy has been low since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, and although perspectives on the economy outlook are a little rosier than they were over the summer, the share of Americans who say that the economic outlook is fairly or very bad is still high.
And Biden’s own Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, said earlier Tuesday that while inflation is starting to ease, if the labor market remains strong, more interest rate hikes could be coming. He warned that there could be more economic pain.
“There’s been an expectation that it’ll go away quickly and painlessly,” Powell said. “I don’t think that’s at all guaranteed.”
Feb 07, 9:40 PM EST
Biden to Republicans: ‘There is no reason we can’t work together’
Biden touted his leadership despite a divided Congress on issues such as Ukraine and his “once-in-a-generation” infrastructure law.
“You know, we’re often told that Democrats and Republicans can’t work together,” he said. “But over these past two years, we proved the cynics and the naysayers wrong.”
“Yes, we disagreed plenty. And yes, there were times when Democrats had to go it alone. But time and again, Democrats and Republicans came together,” he continued.
Biden — in a theme of the evening — brushed aside his administration’s challenges to focus on bipartisanship, saying he signed more than 300 bipartisan laws since becoming president, from reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act to the Electoral Count Reform Act to the Respect for Marriage Act.
“To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress,” he said.
Feb 07, 9:21 PM EST
Biden begins remarks addressing McCarthy: ‘I look forward to working together’
At the top of his State of the Union remarks, President Biden acknowledged the changes that came with the 118th Congress, including offering congratulations to McCarthy, the newly elected Republican Speaker of the House.
“I don’t want to ruin your reputation, but I look forward to working with you,” Biden said after turning around to shake the Republican’s hand — a gesture of goodwill ahead of what is likely to be a two-year period of legislative debate and conflict between Biden and McCarthy’s parties.
The president then congratulated the new leader of the House Democrats and the first Black House minority leader in history, Hakeem Jeffries.
Biden then nodded to the longest serving Senate leader in history, Mitch McConnell, as well as Chuck Schumer’s latest term as Senate majority leader — “this time with an even bigger majority.”
Biden ended his introduction by lauding former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, someone who he said “will be considered the greatest speaker in the history of this country.”
Feb 07, 9:10 PM EST
Biden arrives to expected applause
President Biden entered the chamber just after 9 p.m. ET to expected applause from the attendees.
He shook the hands of many lawmakers as he made his way to the podium.
Feb 07, 9:16 PM EST
Inside House chamber ahead of Biden’s SOTU address
Members began steadily streaming into the House chamber on Tuesday with Vice President Kamala Harris around 8:30 p.m. ET, including some former lawmakers who are also using floor privileges.
The realities of a divided government are on full display — little conversation between Democrats and Republicans across the aisle on the House floor.
The vice president has been making small talk with House Speaker McCarthy — overheard on the mics saying it’s a “packed house.”
Former Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., was seen joking to Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.– infamous for shouting “you lie!” at former President Barack Obama during a joint address of Congress — to “sit down, sit down Joe.”
Former Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is at the speech as one of the only former Trump officials spotted thus far.
Newly independent Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema made her way in, standing next to GOP Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and was then speaking with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
For some, the most coveted seats appear to be along the aisle. That’s where embattled Rep. George Santos chose to sit, in position to shake the president’s hand as he enters and exits the chamber. Santos still has time to switch seats.
Some of the president’s fiercest critics are also along the aisle: Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was carrying around a white balloon through the halls of Congress for much of the day to mock the administration’s handling of the suspected Chinese spy balloon — but decided to not bring it into the chamber.
Speaker McCarthy’s guest, Enes Freedom, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Cabinet secretaries Pete Buttigieg and Jennifer Granholm and pollster Frank Luntz have also filed into the room.
Feb 07, 9:52 PM EST
‘You should be embarrassed’: Romney and Santos trade words
A moment between embattled Rep. George Santos and Sen. Mitt Romney ahead of Biden’s speech is catching attention on social media.
The two Republicans appeared to be exchanging insults on the House floor before the president’s arrival.
“You should be embarrassed … you shouldn’t be here,” Romney seemingly said to Santos, who was sitting off the center aisle of the chamber.
The two went back and forth again before Romney walked away.
On another feed, Santos can be seen repeatedly saying “what an a——” to his seat mate, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., in apparent reference to Romney.
Feb 07, 9:05 PM EST
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh is this year’s ‘designated survivor’
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has been dubbed the “designated survivor” for Biden’s second State of the Union address, according to a White House official.
The designated survivor is the Cabinet member chosen to stay behind in an undisclosed location in case disaster strikes as the president, vice president, top officials and members of Congress gather at the Capitol.
Walsh is 11th in the presidential line of succession and is set to soon leave the administration for a position with the NHL players’ association, ABC News has confirmed.
Feb 07, 8:51 PM EST
Biden says union is in ‘great shape, getting better’
Biden told ABC News’ Ben Gittleson that he was feeling “good” as he departed the White House on Tuesday night for his second State of the Union address.
Asked what he feels is the state of the union, Biden responded: “Great shape, getting better.”
The president entered his motorcade just before 8:30 p.m. ET to travel to the Capitol.
Feb 07, 8:42 PM EST
The economy, health care and defending against terrorism are among Americans’ top issues
Biden will set the agenda in Tuesday’s speech — but what do Americans want the president and Congress to address? Just like last year, the economy and health care costs are Americans’ top priorities, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. The poll found that 75% of Americans think strengthening the economy should be a top priority for Biden and Congress this year, while 60% said that reducing health care costs should be a top priority.
One thing has changed, though — when Biden took the podium for his State of the Union address in 2022, 60% of Americans said that dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak should be a top priority. This year, only 26% named the virus as one of their top issues. Instead, priorities like defending against terrorism, reducing the influence of money in politics and making Medicare financially sound took precedence.
Republicans’ and Democrats’ perspectives on what the president and Congress should address look quite different. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to say they want the government to prioritize reducing health care costs, protect the environment and deal with the problems of poor people, while Republicans were more likely than Democrats to want Biden and Congress to focus on reducing the budget deficit, reducing crime and dealing with immigration.
-FiveThirtyEight’s Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux
Feb 07, 8:49 PM EST
Ciscomani, giving Republicans’ Spanish rebuttal, will say: ‘Our best days lie ahead’
First-term Republican Rep. Juan Ciscomani of Arizona will deliver the GOP’s State of the Union rebuttal on Tuesday — in Spanish. Excerpts from his planned remarks show that he will lay out an optimistic message for the future of the country as a member of the new House majority.
“The state of our union is strong because our people are strong. We can overcome any obstacle. Our best days lie ahead,” Ciscomani will say, contending that President Biden and his administration continue to “push policies that hurt our families.”
The first-generation American will also nod to the fact that his own rise was due to the “American Dream.” After House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced that Ciscomani would be delivering remarks, the lawmaker said his message will be “simple and straightforward,” focused on securing the southern border and strengthening the economy.
“That’s why it’s important to keep fighting for our country. I’m fighting for our country. And my Republican colleagues and I are committed to protect and strengthen the American Dream for all,” he plans to say in his response speech.
Those remarks contrast with excerpts released from the other official Republican State of the Union rebuttal, set to be delivered by Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who will blast Democrats on social issues: “Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags and worship their false idols.”
Feb 07, 8:35 PM EST
Biden’s SOTU pitch echoes Reagan’s ‘stay the course’
In the post-World War II era, only three presidents have had a lower approval rating at this point in their presidency than Biden.
Two of those presidents — Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump — went on to lose reelection.
The third was Ronald Reagan. In 1983, he was unpopular and facing critics who said he was too old. But the next year, Reagan won reelection in the biggest landslide in the history of modern American politics, winning every state except for Minnesota, home of his Democratic opponent, Walter Mondale.
It’s no accident that Biden is echoing Reagan’s message from 40 years ago. Back then, the country was just starting to recover from high inflation and high interest rates. Reagan acknowledged the pain in his own State of the Union address and, as he launched his reelection bid, his campaign buttons urged the country to “STAY THE COURSE.”
Biden’s message on Tuesday? “Finish the job.”
-ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl
Feb 07, 8:38 PM EST
Pelosi tells ABC Biden’s message will be ‘how we go forward’
As she made her way to the House chamber, Rep. Nancy Pelosi told ABC News that she’s “thrilled” to hear what Biden has to say to Congress.
“I’m so excited about tonight. The president will talk about what he has accomplished. It’ll be a message of progress and hope about how we go forward and what more needs to be done and what the path is to that,” Pelosi said.
The California Democrat, who has witnessed several presidents — Biden included — deliver State of the Union addresses from the dais as House speaker, insisted that there was much for Biden to “brag about.”
“I’m really quite thrilled,” she continued. “I can’t remember being so thrilled on the State of the Union, because there’s so much for him to brag about, but also that he knows needs to be done.”
-ABC News’ Will Steakin
Feb 07, 7:55 PM EST
Congress probably won’t do most of the things Biden is requesting
Biden is going to call on Congress to do a lot in his speech — he’ll talk about the issues he thinks are ripe for action and the policies he wants Congress to prioritize. But lawmakers probably won’t follow through on most of them.
According to an analysis of legislation passed after every State of the Union address since 1965, conducted by political scientists Donna Hoffman and Allison Howard, Congress only fully enacted 24.3% of a president’s requests, on average, and partially enacted another 13.8%.
In some years — like 2016 and 2020 — none of the requests were acted on. So even if Biden makes big, bold proposals for Congress, don’t expect most of them to become reality.
-FiveThirtyEight’s Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux
Feb 07, 7:32 PM EST
In GOP response, Sarah Huckabee Sanders will highlight Democratic ‘failures’
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders plans to use the Republicans’ official State of the Union rebuttal to tear into President Joe Biden and the Democrats, focusing heavily on culture war issues while highlighting where she says the economy has failed.
According to excerpts of her speech shared by her office, Sanders, the country’s youngest governor and a White House press secretary under President Donald Trump, will pan Democrats as high taxers who “[light] your hard-earned money on fire.” But most of the highlights previewed by her office focused on labeling the Democratic Party as a “woke” group in almost religious terms.
“You get crushed with high gas prices, empty grocery shelves and our children are taught to hate one another on account of their race, but not to love one another or our great country. … And while you reap the consequences of their failures, the Biden administration seems more interested in woke fantasies than the hard reality Americans face every day,” she will say. “Most Americans simply want to live their lives in freedom and peace, but we are under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn’t start and never wanted to fight.”
“Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols … all while big government colludes with Big Tech to strip away the most American thing there is — your freedom of speech.”
Republicans like Trump and others are already preparing to challenge Biden ahead of his expected reelection bid, with party leaders divided over the best approach. Sanders, Trump and others have embraced social issues, while others have focused on inflation and government spending.
Feb 07, 7:03 PM EST
Some of the guests who will attend Biden’s speech
Often, those invited to a president’s State of the Union address represent the topics he is expected to focus on during his remarks.
First lady Jill Biden’s office announced Tuesday morning who will join her in her viewing box at her husband’s speech later in the day.
She won’t be the only one bringing guests. Here’s a look at some of the notable names:
Second gentleman Doug Emhoff will join Jill Biden with his guest, Holocaust survivor Ruth Cohen of Rockville, Maryland.
The Congressional Black Caucus initially invited the family of Tyre Nichols — the Memphis, Tennessee, man who died after being attacked by police last month — and the White House announced that Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, and stepfather, Rodney Wells, will sit in the first lady’s box.
Also in the first lady’s box will be Brandon Tsay of San Marino, California, who disarmed the shooter in the Monterey Park, California, shooting; former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, who was attacked by an intruder last fall; U2’s Bono for his work fighting HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty; and Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he invited former NBA player Enes Freedom as his guest.
Freedom, an outspoken critic of China’s reported abuse of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, has met with House GOP several times this year. He wrote in a tweet that he was “deeply honored and humbled to attend the State of the Union address” and appreciates McCarthy’s “friendship, leadership and support.”
-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson and Lauren Peller
Feb 07, 6:30 PM EST
Biden to say America’s democracy is ‘bruised’ but remains ‘unbroken’
In his speech tonight, President Biden will speak about the state of American democracy as he addresses Congress and the nation.
“The story of America is a story of progress and resilience … We are the only country that has emerged from every crisis stronger than when we entered it. That is what we are doing again,” Biden is expected to say, according to excerpts of his prepared speech released by the White House, as has become a tradition.
Biden will specifically tout his administration’s response to the economic crisis, COVID-19 and attacks on democracy.
“Two years ago our economy was reeling,” he’s expected to say in the address. “As I stand here tonight, we have created a record 12 million new jobs — more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years. Two years ago, COVID had shut down our businesses, closed our schools, and robbed us of so much. Today, COVID no longer controls our lives.”
“And two years ago, our democracy faced its greatest threat since the Civil War. Today, though bruised, our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken.”
Feb 07, 6:21 PM EST
Schumer and Jeffries: Expect Biden to draw contrasts with GOP
Ahead of the president’s State of the Union address, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said that Biden should not only tout what he’s done for the American people but also draw a contrast with the GOP alternative during his later remarks.
While meeting with a small group of reporters, the Brooklyn Democrats noted that even as Biden faces headwinds in the polls, he would do well in highlighting the legislative wins their party have secured for average Americans while drawing a clear contrast between Democrats who they said are “unified with a sense of purpose” and what they called “the chaos and dysfunction and extremism” in the Republican Party.
When asked by ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott about a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll showing 41% of Americans believe they are not as well off since Biden took office, Schumer argued Democrats don’t need a reset.
“You know, it’s not going to be you know, a huge campaign rally speech,” Schumer said, before pushing back on poll numbers. “I don’t think we need a reset. Most of it hasn’t been implemented a lot of it hasn’t even had the regulations implemented at the executive level yet. You know, if it’s a year from now, maybe that’s a valid argument but I don’t think it will be that way a year from now.”
– ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott
Feb 07, 6:05 PM EST
Potential debt ceiling standoff looms large
When Biden delivers his State of the Union address, it will be the first with new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy sitting over his shoulder.
Shaping up to be the first major obstacle that McCarthy and Biden must work together to overcome is how Congress should go about raising the federal borrowing limit, which the Treasury Department has indicated will need to be done as soon as June to make sure none of the federal government’s bills go unpaid.
The conflict, along with the potentially calamitous economic consequences of a debt default, will no doubt color some of Biden’s remarks as he looks to reassure the 53% of Americans who are “very” concerned about that outcome, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.
Biden and McCarthy say they agree that the nation cannot default on its debt, but with the Treasury already using “extraordinary measures” to keep the nation out of the red, that’s about all they agree on.
The speaker looked to preempt Biden’s State of the Union speech in remarks Monday night in which he outlined what he saw as the major risks the nation faces by failing to cut spending. McCarthy described the $31.4 trillion national debt as the “greatest threat to our future.”
The Biden administration, meanwhile, maintains that the debt limit must be raised without any political negotiation or bargaining, as has been done under both parties over many years.
-ABC News’ Allison Pecorin
Feb 07, 6:01 PM EST
The State of the Union doesn’t usually affect the president’s approval rating
Biden and Democrats might be hoping that Tuesday night’s State of the Union address will give him a political boost, but history shows that’s unlikely to be the case.
When we compare Gallup polls taken just before State of the Union addresses since 1978 to Gallup polls taken just after them, we see that the president’s approval rating typically doesn’t move very much.
On average, a president’s approval rating shifts by just 2.6 points after State of the Union addresses. But that shift is just as likely to be negative as it is positive. As a result, the average president has gotten just 0.4 points more popular after the State of the Union.
While a few presidents, such as Bill Clinton in 1998, have emerged from the speech in a significantly improved position, they are the exception, not the rule. And those changes may not even be attributable to the State of the Union; for example, then-President Donald Trump’s approval rating rose 6 points after his 2019 address — but the 2018-19 government shutdown came to an end just a few days before his speech.
-FiveThirtyEight’s Nathaniel Rakich
Feb 07, 5:59 PM EST
Congressional Black Caucus, other Democrats to wear pins advocating policing reform
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other Democrats will wear black pins tonight to highlight policing reform, an issue that has stalled on Capitol Hill but for which there have been renewed calls in the wake of Tyre Nichols’ beating and death.
The round, black pins members are wearing have the year “1870” bolded in white. The year, they say, refers to the first known instance of an unjustified police officer killing of a Black person in the U.S, according to lawmakers.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., was passing out the pins along earlier with a card noting police killed Henry Truman in 1870.
“153 years later, nothing has changed,” the card said.
Meanwhile, some Republican members have been wearing lapel pins resembling AR-15 rifles in recent weeks, distributed by Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ariz.
Biden is expected to address policing reform in his State of the Union address and has invited Nichols’ parents to attend as his guests.
-ABC News’ Senior Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott
Feb 07, 5:52 PM EST
What Biden promised in last year’s State of the Union: Report card
Biden will deliver his second State of the Union in a matter of hours, raising the question: What did he promise last year, and was he able to achieve what he laid out?
Among the top priorities he outlined last March were rallying American support for Ukraine in its effort to repel the Russian invasion and efforts to fight record-setting inflation. He said the State of the Union was strong “because you, the American people, are strong.”
Yet, a new ABC News/Washington Post shows just 36% of Americans think Biden has accomplished a great deal or good amount as president; 62% say he’s accomplished not very much or nothing at all.
And with Biden appearing poised to run for a second term — and looking to use this year’s speech to make his case — nearly six in 10 Democratic-aligned adults don’t want to see him nominated again — and his approval rating after two years in office is well below average compared with the previous 13 presidents. Only one, former President Donald Trump, has lower numbers.
Here are highlights of what Biden said last year and how things turned out.
Feb 07, 5:29 PM EST
McConnell blasts Biden ahead of address
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed Joe Biden for what he called the nation’s economic woes under two years of Democratic control — just hours ahead of the president’s State of the Union address.
The Kentucky Republican appeared to rely heavily on new ABC News/Washington Post polling — while not citing the data directly — in remarks on the Senate floor, claiming Biden has created an America in which only 16% of citizens feel they are in a better financial situation than they were in two years ago.
“For 84 percent of Americans, one party Democratic control of Washington either failed to live up to its consequences or actively made life worse,” McConnell said.
McConnell hit Biden on inflation, immigration, the Afghanistan withdrawal, school choice, and more in the lead up to Biden’s speech tonight.
He also criticized the administration for its handling of the Chinese spy balloon, arguing that it was “ludicrous to suggest that Canada and the United States had no choice but to let this thing traipse across the continent from coast to coast. “
–ABC News’ Allie Pecorin
Feb 07, 4:43 PM EST
McCarthy sees no need for fencing reinstalled around Capitol
Speaking earlier Tuesday with reporters, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy signaled that there were no security threats ahead of the State of the Union to justify the fencing put up around the Capitol as it was after Jan. 6, 2021
“I don’t think you need it,” McCarthy said when asked about the high, non-scalable fence installed in recent days. “There’s no intel that there’s any problem, any groups, or anything else,” he added.
McCarthy said that while the House Sergeant at Arms did not see a need for the fencing, the Secret Service, the Senate Sergeant at Arms, and the Architect of the Capitol did.
“They’ll pay for it — take it up, take it down,” he said. “I just don’t think it’s the right look. There’s not a need.”
The speaker’s comments follow House Republicans moving to open the House side of the Capitol to visitors and to remove magnetometers, among other changes, after taking the majority in January.
-ABC News’ Gabe Ferris
Feb 07, 4:34 PM EST
Where Biden’s approval rating stands before he addresses the country
Biden is expected to announce within months that he is seeking reelection in 2024, a source previously told ABC News.
As he prepares his next move, FiveThirtyEight’s polling average shows that his approval numbers are slowly ticking up from where they were last fall. On Feb. 7, Biden hit a 43% approval rating in FiveThirtyEight’s average — an increase of 2 points since Nov. 8, the day of the 2022 midterm elections.
This might not seem like a huge increase in the grand scheme of things, but in the current age of strong partisan polarization, any upward trajectory is likely encouraging for Biden ahead of him officially announcing another run.
On the other hand, polling does show that Biden enjoys relatively mild support for another campaign from inside his own party, with only 58% of Democratic primary or caucus voters saying they want Biden to be their nominee in 2024, according to an Emerson College poll released in late January, while 42% said it should be someone else.
That 58% is a 6-point drop from when Emerson asked Democrats the same question in June. But Biden has stronger support among some key demographic groups: According to the poll, 75% of Black Democratic voters and 72% of Hispanic Democratic voters want Biden to be their standard-bearer. White Democrats are more divided, with 51% saying someone besides Biden should be the nominee.
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll found similar concerns among Democrats about Biden being renominated in 2024.
-FiveThirtyEight’s Alex Samuels
Feb 07, 4:22 PM EST
Sarah Huckabee Sanders to cast Biden as unfit in GOP response, her team says
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will cast Biden as an unfit commander in chief when she delivers the Republican response to his State of the Union address, her team said Tuesday.
Sanders, 40, currently the youngest governor in the country, is expected to talk about a new generation of leadership as she follows an address from the oldest sitting president in American history.
She is expected to say that the choice is no longer between right or left — the choice is between normal or crazy. She is expected to accuse Biden of not defending American borders, skies and people, according to her team.
-ABC News’ John Santucci
Feb 07, 4:00 PM EST
‘Finish the job,’ Biden expected to say
“Finish the job” will be a common refrain in the president’s State of the Union address, according to a White House official.
“This evening during the State of the Union, President Biden will speak directly to the American people and outline the historic progress we have made over the past two years and his agenda for the future,” the official said. “President Biden ran for office for three main reasons: to rebuild the backbone of the country, to unite the country and to restore the soul of the nation. In the State of the Union, he’ll say that we need to finish the job.”
This theme also plays into the groundwork that Biden is laying for a reelection bid.
Biden is also expected to specifically highlight the heroism of Brandon Tsay, who disarmed the Monterey Park shooter, and reference the parents of Tyre Nichols in the audience, as he calls for gun and policing reforms.
-ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Mary Bruce and Molly Nagle
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