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Joe Biden: Fumbling State of the Union address has drawn a heavily mixed response

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US President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union address on Tuesday, touting an America’s “unbroken” democracy and resurgent economy in an optimistic — and gaffe-ridden — speech.

Mr Biden’s address before Congress and tens of millions of television viewers was a chance for the Democrat, who is expected soon to announce a bid for a second term, to persuade sceptical voters that at 80 he still has what it takes to takes to run for re-election.

But some conservatives on social media mocked the President’s delivery, suggesting he was slurring his words.

“Is anyone else having trouble understanding exactly what he’s trying to say? It’s a weird combo of mumbling and speed-reading. I can’t quite make it out. Also now he’s yelling,” wrote Mollie Hemingway, editor-in-chief of The Federalist.

“I don’t have any strong feelings about this speech because thus far I have been unable to understand much of it. This whole spectacle is really sad and it makes me feel very uncomfortable.”

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said, “Why does Biden sound like he’s speed-reading? He must want to get back to the WH before it gets too late.”

US Senator from Utah Mike Lee, who was in the chamber for the speech, wrote, “he’s not well … This is elder abuse.”

At one point in the speech, Mr Biden began yelling angrily about Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“We face serious challenges across the world, but the past two years democracies have become stronger not weaker, autocracies have grown weaker not stronger,” he said.

“Name me a world leader would change places with Xi Jinping! Name me one! Name me one!”

He also had a verbal stumble in a portion of the speech directed at Republicans — appearing to mangle the words “prescription drugs”.

And in another bizarre aside, the President falsely stated that his wife Jill Biden “teaches full time”.

The New York Post’s editorial board said Biden’s speech “set new records for dishonesty and emptiness”, slamming the president for “offering lie after lie in a shameless bid to fool the electorate ahead of his 2024 run for re-election”.

‘Democracy remains unbroken’

The 73-minute speech saw Mr Biden pitch his centrist, populist vision of a country healing after Covid and the turmoil of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Referring to Mr Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Mr Biden said that the United States had survived “its greatest threat since the Civil War”.

“Today, though bruised, our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken,” Mr Biden said.

Mr Biden touted surging employment figures and told Americans that his economic plan aims to rebuild the country’s manufacturing base despite pressure from the Ukraine war and pandemic disruptions.

“We’re better positioned than any country on Earth right now,” he said. For decades, “manufacturing jobs moved overseas, factories closed down”, Mr Biden said.

“Jobs are coming back. Pride is coming back,” he said. “This is my view of a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America.”

Among Mr Biden’s proposals in the speech was a new “billionaire tax” he said was designed to “reward work, not just wealth”.

And he hit out at big oil companies he accused of making “outrageous” profits. “I ran for president to fundamentally change things to make sure our economy works for everyone, so we can all feel that pride,” Mr Biden said.

Amid deep political divisions, Mr Biden urged Republicans now holding the majority in the House of Representatives to show unity — as he accused some among them of taking the US economy “hostage” over the debt ceiling.

A major crisis is brewing in Congress over Republican refusal to extend the debt limit, usually a rubber stamp procedure. Mr Biden’s government warns of financial calamity, with major international implications, if Republicans stick to their guns, potentially pushing the United States into default.

“Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere. And that’s always been my vision for the country: to restore the soul of the nation,” Mr Biden said.

Delivering the Republican rebuttal to Mr Biden, former Trump White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders lashed out at the “radical left” and what she said was an attack against the “freedom and peace” of patriotic Americans.

“It’s crazy and it’s wrong,” said Ms Sanders, who has been elected governor of Arkansas since leaving Trump’s administration and is a rising star on the right.

The White House announced the guests of First Lady Jill Biden for the speech would include Ukraine’s ambassador, Oksana Markarova, and rock band mega star and HIV/AIDS campaigner Bono.

The most eye-catching, though, was Brandon Tsay, the 26-year-old man who disarmed the gunman in a January mass shooting in California, and RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, the parents of Tyre Nichols, a man whose death after a prolonged police beating in Memphis, Tennessee, shocked the nation.

Read related topics:Joe Biden

Story Credit: news.com.au

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