Health Law Launch Frustrations Set Scene For State Of Union

News outlets analyze the challenges and opportunities in the president's annual address to Congress while assessing his record on fulfilling past proposals.

The New York Times: Obama's Puzzle: Economy Rarely Better, Approval Rarely Worse
Mr. Obama and his speechwriter could not phrase it better, or simpler. Yet taking credit is complicated, given the clear evidence in national polls that most Americans are not in a mood to give him any. Mr. Obama’s ratings for his handling of the economy, never high since his first months in office, slipped throughout 2013 in national polls. As he began this year, nearly six in 10 Americans disapproved, nearly matching his lowest marks in 2011, a year of repeated and damaging fiscal fights with the new Republican House majority. Advisers said the decline was a reflection of Mr. Obama’s diminished standing more broadly after months of public attention to issues that have dominated news coverage: the administration’s bungled introduction of the website for the insurance marketplaces created by his signature Affordable Care Act, and the controversy over intelligence gathering by the National Security Agency (Calmes, 1/27).

The Wall Street Journal: Poll Finds Americans Anxious Over Future, Obama's Performance
Mr. Obama's congressional address may offer him the best chance of the year "to try to achieve a reset with a focus on the economy after last year's glitches with Obamacare," said Fred Yang, a Democratic pollster who helped conduct the survey. Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who also helped craft the poll, said Mr. Obama's personal standing has taken such a hit over the past year that "re-establishing his approval rating will be very difficult" (King Jr. and O’Connor, 1/28).

The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker: Obama’s 2013 State Of The Union Proposals: What Flopped And What Succeeded
Every president announces a slew of initiatives in his State of the Union address. Here, in order of delivery, is a summary of the key proposals, pledges or priorities announced by President Obama a year ago — and what happened to them. In general, Obama’s success rate has been relatively poor since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 2011. In 2013, Obama had only four wins out of 23 proposals checked. … Obama: “On Medicare, I’m prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health-care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.” No action has been taken. The two sides did not even begin a negotiation on reductions on entitlements, which was fine with many Democrats (Kessler, 1/28).

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