Here Were the WORST Moments From CNN’s Reactions to Biden’s State of the Union Address

February 8th, 2023 8:30 PM

The new CNN is going in no different under Chris Licht than the CNN under its previous boss and puppetmaster, Jeff Zucker. Tuesday night was the latest example as CNN’s cast of liberal journalists and analysts were exhilarated by President Biden’s State of the Union address, saying Biden was “combative,” “feisty,” and full of “magic” and “vigor” for “the best speech” of his life.

In contrast, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was mocked for talking about visiting the troops with then-President Trump, defiled as “mean,” and part of what’s “wrong with the politics in our country” by viewing people who think different as less-than human whereas “Biden did not do that.”



Below is a Notable Quotables-style round-up of the worst quotes, presented in no particular order. For the smear of Sanders on her visit to the Middle East, check out Kevin Tober’s post here.

“Passionate” Biden Gave “The Best Speech...Ever” With “Powerful Message”

“I’ve heard President Biden going back to his 36 years in the U.S. Senate, deliver a lot of speeches over the years. I’ve covered him for many, many years. I’ve gotten to know him a bit. I think this was the best speech I have ever heard him deliver. He was passionate, it was extremely well written, he clearly had practiced it and he — he delivered a powerful message to the American people.”

Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer, 10:33 p.m. Eastern.

“Optimistic,” “Upbeat” Joe Was Full of “Energy,” McCarthy Was a Disgrace for Not Capping

Special correspondent Jamie Gangel: “A lot of the pundits going into today kept saying how today was — he would be the oldest president to ever give a state of the union address. What we saw today...was the energy, upbeat, optimistic, but you also saw Joe Biden the politician at his best...When he spoke at the beginning of the evening about January 6th, and he said, our democracy faced the greatest threats since the civil war, Kevin McCarthy sat there and he did not clap.

The Lead host and State of the Union co-host Jake Tapper: “Right, he didn't clap.”

Sunday Inside Politics host Abby Phillip: “Even though Kevin McCarthy would have said the same thing, perhaps, in those hours after the insurrection happened, he just changed his mind.”

— Conversation at 10:27 p.m. Eastern.

(Biased) Poll Proves Biden Speech Was “Triumph” in “Tone,” “Tenor,” and “Substance”

“I think that this is generally viewed as a fairly strong speech, especially for Biden. You heard it also from Speaker Pelosi who was here just a few minutes ago. I think Democrats are pretty elated...[H]e accomplished what [Democrats] wanted him to do in terms of the tone, the tenor and the substance of the speech...[W]e are in a pretty divided place as a country. So, in some ways, Biden kind of scoring marks about — while as he when he first got into office. It’s probably a triumph for him.”

— Phillip, 11:34 p.m. Eastern.

“Combative,” “Feisty” Joe Threw It Back at “Rude” Republicans Who “Heckled”

Tapper: “He was feisty, he was combative at times, even responsive to the crowd, his second State of the Union address...There’s a lot to chew over. But, Dana Bash, I think it’s fair to say one thing that I’m going to remember from this night is that new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s assistance that House Republicans behave themselves and respect the presidency, if not the President, that went on unheeded. The President was heckled quite often and quite rudely by many of the same House Republicans who made the speaker’s life so difficult a month ago when we were sitting.

State of the Union co-host Dana Bash: “Absolutely. And it was stunning to see the House speaker sitting behind the President on multiple occasions visually shushing members of his conference who were heckling the President...[W]e don’t want this kind of lack of decorum to be the norm but apparently it has become the norm.”

— Back-and-forth at 10:22 p.m. Eastern.

Sanders Was “Mean,” Shouldn’t Be Putting “Down Every Democrat” to Help Kids

“I thought she came across as mean and she’s not mean. You know, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is not a mean person. I think she came across as mean and I thought that it was not necessary. She wants to help kids in Arkansas. They sure need the help. But you don’t have to put down every Democrat to stick up for kids in Arkansas. It didn’t make sense to me.”

— Political commentator and former Obama official Van Jones, 11:15 p.m. Eastern.

Biden Speech Was “Not Controversial”....and “He Was Smiling During Most of It”!

“[T]here was a lot of things he said that, you know, it’s not controversial. Buy American. Jobs are coming back. Pride is coming back. There was a lot of optimism in the speech that came across and he was smiling during most of it and I think people will walk away with that.”

— Gangel, 10:44 pm. Eastern.

Biden “Was Ready to Be in the Arena,” Paint All Republicans as “Far-Right”

“[T]his was a President who was ready to be in the arena...[W]hat [the White House] managed to do was — I don’t know if they were goading Republicans into reacting this way. But they managed to put the President in a position where he was feeding off of the energy that he was getting back from the crowd in that room...Democrats could use this far-right wing of the Republican Party, this kind of MAGA crew to paint a picture for the American people of what they — it’s a very stark contrast, right, that people get to choose between and bonus, Biden comes across as someone who is enjoying himself and who has the energy to be in this job for another, you know, until he is well into his 80s.”

— Chief national affairs analyst Kasie Hunt, 10:34 p.m. Eastern.

Swooning Ol’ Joe “Glad Handling” Like the “Irishman at Heart” Who “Closed Out the Bar”

“It’s really unusual what we’re watching here. The speech ended at 10:21 Eastern time. It’s now 10:38 p.m. and President Biden, who as we all know, likes people and enjoys glad handling, is still in the House chambers talking to members of Congress who, it should be pointed out, are eager to talk to him.”

— Tapper, 10:39 p.m. Eastern.

“I just have to say that as President Biden was finally walked out of the chamber, he was and Irishman at heart, closed out the bar at the end of the night. The last person to leave the room.”

— Phillip, 10:42 p.m. Eastern.

Biden Smearing GOP “Was Magic,” “Brilliant...Showmanship” of GOP’s “Lack of Decorum”

Phillip: “And Biden in that moment, I think, showed one of the things the White House was hoping he would show, which is vigor and some fight...And I think that at the end of the day, that might be the thing that you remember, what he adlibbed in those —“

Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? host Chris Wallace: “I don’t think there’s any doubt that that was the magic moment...I don’t know that you could say he baited or provoked them but he certainly was very happy when he got the response he got from Republicans on issues like whether or not they’re going to hold the economy hostage and not raise the debt limit, whether or not they’re going to cut Social Security or Medicare. And he milked that moment once the Republicans started responding...[H]e engaged. He loved it. And that is the moment people are going to remember and to the way the people had questions about the vigor and the resilience of this President, he did as well as he could tonight.”

— Conversation at 10:24 p.m. Eastern.

“Look, it is a reminder of the mood in Washington, number one, and the lack of decorum, but it’s also a reminder that most of the policy things the President went through are not going to get past because Kevin McCarthy — even if Kevin McCarthy wants them.”

Inside Politics host John King, 10:26 p.m. Eastern.

Tapper: “[T]he [Republicans] who were unruly and yelling and heckling the President, not only did they make themselves look bad, they really allowed him an opportunity to look vigorous.

Wallace: “Oh, absolutely. I mean, they — they literally played into his hands...[I]t played out perfectly. And you know, I’m looking back at the end of that whole sequence where he was engaging back and forth with the Republicans, he said, so tonight, let’s all agree to stand up for seniors...It was a brilliant moment that, you know, it like took something that had been prepared by the speech writers and he made it his own and he made it magic. It was really quite a piece of political showmanship.”

— Conversation at 10:41 p.m. Eastern.

Sanders Gave “Searing,” Insufficiently “Unifying” Speech That Ignored Americans

Senior political commentator and former Obama official David Axelrod: “[T]he first part, it was almost as if she was just talking to the base of the Republican Party. It was very, very — it was searing...[S]he was stoking the red meat to the base...[I]f the goal was to speak to a broader swath of Americans, I don’t think she achieved that.

Political commentator and View co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin: “I like that she leaned into education choice...So, from a policy perspective, that was good. But yes, Sarah Huckabee Sanders...has been considered to be on a short list to be Trump’s running mate. So, I think it made a lot of sense that she was throwing some red meat to the base. I probably would’ve frontloaded it with a more unifying message and then throwing some red meat at the end. But, listen, I mean, she’s a talented, savvy politician.”

— Conversation at 11:13 p.m. Eastern.

Far-Left Congressman Had “Line of the Night” Trashing GOP

Tapper: “Congressman Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland said that Marjorie Taylor Greene seemed to not be able to tell the difference between attending a State of the Union versus attending the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is obviously a film where people yell at the screen.

Gangel: “Jamie Raskin wins the line of the night. Let’s also remember, there is going to be one other difference with Marjorie Taylor Greene and others. Joe Wilson who yelled out liar, he was censured for doing that. 

Bash: “Yeah.”

Gangel: “That’s not going to happen here this time around.”

— Back-and-forth at 10:44 p.m. Eastern.

Sanders Ripping Biden in GOP Response Is What’s “Wrong With...Politics in Our Country”

Senior political commentator and former Mitch McConnell aide Scott Jennings: “If I can go back to Sarah for just one second. You seemed to be negative on her having some partisan pieces of her speech that were for her base. What percentage of Joe Biden’s speech was purely for a Democratic base that does not want him to run again?”

Axelrod: “I think the whole tenor and tone, Scott, of Biden’s speech was really constructed to try and speak to a broad audience...[T]here wasn’t a sort of scorched earth. Let me just be really frank about this. One of the things that is wrong with the politics in our country is the fact that we don’t just disagree on issues, but we disqualify ourselves as Americans and as human beings and she sorts of strode right into that lane...I don’t think it is good for the country...Joe Biden did not do that in his speech. And that’s not who Joe Biden is. That’s one of the reasons why he’s President of the United States and Donald Trump isn’t.”

Jennings: “You’re saying you don’t think Joe Biden is a strident, partisan Democrat? I mean, I just respectfully disagree...There is a clear market demand for Biden not to run again. Not by Republicans, by Democrats. There is a clear demand for Trump to not run again. And so, what she is appealing to is probably the only unifying thing in the country.

Axelrod: “But you didn’t — but you didn’t respond to a point I am making.”

Jennings: “I’m responding.”

Axelrod: “No, you’re not.”

Jennings: “She made red meat.”

Axelrod: “You are doing what a trained political professional does. You’re changing the subject...[A]t the end of the speech, Biden spoke to the fact that we need to not treat each other as enemies but as fellow Americans. Really, her speech was, no, let’s treat each as enemies. That was the tone and tenor of her speech.”

— Debate at 11:17 p.m. Eastern.

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