According to Sen. Richard Blumenthal, when President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address last night, the president was "moving and cogent and compelling" on what Blumenthal called the "central question" in the United States today: "How to preserve and enhance the middle class."
"We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by," Obama said. "Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules."
Though this is an election year, Blumenthal, the soon-to-be senior senator from Connecticut, said Obama's speech went above mere politics.
""The president really reached above and beyond the Congress assembled before him in that chamber to reach the American people," Blumenthal said.
So, of all the pleas and proposals made by Obama during his hour-long speech, which does Blumenthal think will actually turn into action?
Well, the extension of the payroll tax deduction and unemployment benefits, which the senator called "vital," and the various veterans' proposals, among them a Veterans Job Corps, which the president said "will help our communities hire veterans as cops and firefighters."
"There was very strong response and applause for those two proposals," Blumenthal said. "They should reach his desk first."
What about Obama's support of a ban on insider trading by members of congress? It "could pass," according to the senator.
"I sat with Republican Bob Corker, from Tennessee," Blumenthal said. "He stood to applaud that proposal."
If there was one omission, from Blumenthal's point of view, it was in the area of military policy.
Blumenthal, a member of the Senate's Armed Services committee, said, "I regretted a bit that he did not outline specific strategic and military policy," which the senator called "integral to the reduction of debt" and military strength.
But, as the senator pointed out, the speech was primarily focused on domestic matters. Obama devoted about a paragraph to China, for example, what Blumenthal called a "major strategic threat."
But then, to Richard Blumenthal, the greatest threat to this country may not come from outside it's borders, and the president's goal, according to the senator, was to drive members of Congress to "a common purpose."
"We're threatened by our own divisions, as much as any outside danger, Blumenthal said.
to read the full text of Obama's State of the Union address.
to read the full text of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels' official GOP response.
to read reactions from other Connecticut-based lawmakers.