The three morning shows on Thursday reacted to Barack Obama’s State of the Union address by highlighting the risk Republicans run in continuing to oppose the President’s agenda. On NBC’s Today, Meredith Vieira fretted to Joe Biden, "What risk do the Republicans run by continuing to say no, by being the party of no?" NBC put the happiest spin on the speech, featuring a graphic that trumpeted, "‘Never More Hopeful’: Obama’s Renewed Message of Hope for America."
Chuck Todd cooed, "The President took pains to talk about hope at a time when so many Americans seemed to have so little." On the Early Show, Maggie Rodriguez pressed Senator John McCain on GOP accommodation. She wondered if "we are going to hear" more yes answers and fewer no replies from the Republicans. The co-host then chided McCain, "But will you compromise?"
In an amusing moment on Today, Vieira asked Biden what Americans could expect for the economy in the new year. He replied, "Well, I say, they’re going to start to see unemployment grow this spring." Vieira quickly jumped in and corrected, "You mean employment?" [Audio available here.]
All three morning shows focused on Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s visible disagreement to being chastised by the President for overturning some campaign finance laws. Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts asked Vice President Biden, "Did the President go too far? Did he cross the line?"
On NBC, Todd simply noted that Alito could be seen onscreen "silently voicing apparent disagreement." Chip Reid on CBS described Obama’s criticism to the judges in front of him as an "unusual move."
However, none of the morning shows really explained the inaccurate nature of Obama’s comments on the Supreme Court ruling. The Washington Post’s Laurie Kellman on Thursday explained [Emphasis added]:
The president had taken the unusual step of publicly scolding the high court, with some of its members in robes seated before him in the House. "With all due deference to the separation of powers," he said, the court last week "reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections."
Obama said corporations can "spend without limit in our elections." However, corporations and unions are still prohibited from contributing directly to politicians.
On Good Morning America, Roberts focused on the placement of health care in the speech. Noting that Obama didn’t talk about it for 30 minutes, she worried, "Does that send a different message that health care reform’s going to take a backseat?"On Today, Vieira complained that it took "33 minutes" for the topic to be raised.