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editorial | state of the union address

Obama strikes tougher tone in push for reasonable goals

Four years ago, President Obama entered office vowing to ease divisions, a plea for unity that went unanswered. By asking for help from Republicans, Obama may have made them less likely to give it: Obama placed the burden of compromise on his own shoulders, and Republicans found it only too easy to declare his overtures to be insufficient.

Last night, journeying to the Capitol for his first address to Congress since his reelection last November, Obama’s second-term strategy seemed clear, and very different. There was a brief reminder that the American people “expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can,” but that was just a precursor to a long, forceful argument for taking a “balanced approach” to resolving the nation’s fiscal problems, through changes in Medicare and the tax code that serve to reduce costs and raise revenue.

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