A Look At The President’s State of the Union Address


No press conference is bigger or more covered than the President’s annual State of the Union Address.

This year, Obama started by going over the successes of the past year. 11.2 million jobs have been created in the private sector in the last 58 months, the unemployment rate fell faster than it has in 30 years, even the dropout rate of high-school students reached an all-time low and it was minorities that lead this change, and finished with 10 million people being able to get health insurance.

His team did a great job of preparing a speech and a slide deck alongside it to evoke emotion. This humanization of the changes was never more apparent than his introduction of Rebekah Erler and her family. Rebekah and her family fell on hard times when construction slowed during the recession. Rebekah went back to school and continued working, but as the economy got better her husband found work again and they became prosperous again.

Obama continued with oil production and low gas price statistics. He mentioned that Americans are less dependent on foreign oil than in the past with a graph showing how oil production in the US has increased while oil imports has fallen. This coupled with the USA’s use of wind power being higher than any other country and the increase in the use of solar electricity Obama sees this as a big win for energy needs in the future.

There was a big focus on the economy in his speech. One of the statistics he shared was the ratio of the deficit to GDP. From 2009 to 2014 that percentage went from 9.8% to under 3%. He then goes on to quote Reuters at the end of 2014,

“Third quarter U.S. economic growth strongest in 11 years.

One of the big policy plans he wants to implement is to help poor families pay for childcare so their parents can go to work. This plan along with many others will be a difficult sale to a Republican congress.



Highlights From Putin’s Press Conference Today

Vladimir Putin Answering Questions

Vladimir Putin Answering Questions

Today, December 18th, The annual Russian press conference with Vladimir Putin was held with foreign and domestic journalists probing the Russian President. Topics varied from the economy to foreign relations.

On the Russian economy, Putin blamed, “external factors” for the well-documented economic troubles the country is facing. The country’s currency, the Rouble is falling rapidy, and is down 51% in 2014. Russia is one of the largest oil producing countries and oil’s declining prices have been a large reason for the country’s decline.

With that in mind, Putin said, “Getting out of this situation is inevitable: world economy will grow and our economy will come out of this in two years at most”. To achieve this end Putin said he will create an environment for businesses that is conducive to growth and a boost in employment. He went on to flatly say the accession of Crimea has nothing to do with the economic crisis.

Russia’s diplomatic relations are another issue many critics have faulted, particularly the crisis in Ukraine which Putin said,

“If Ukraine wants to restore peace and territorial integrity, it must respect the people who live in certain regions of the country, carry out a political dialogue with them. I am confident Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko sincerely wants to resolve this conflict, but he is not alone in that.”

Domestic politics was a common theme throughout as well. Putin said,

“There is no foundation more solid and vital than that of the Russian people, they feel we act in interest of Russian citizens.”

Russia was also home to the 2014 Winter Olympics which Putin thought went well, and will help Russia in the future saying,

“If we want our people to stand in line not for vodka, but for figure skating we need to invest in necessary facilities.”

Putin also touched on internal dissent in Russia, but does not seem to be troubled.