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Obama's State of the Union '10, the techPres Abridgement

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, January 28 2010

Just in case you had something better to do at 9 ET last night, here's what Obama had to say whittled down to just the segments of his hour-plus address that speak to what we cover here at techPresident. Think of it like Jefferson Bible, but with only the 2.0-ish bits. Let's begin. First off, Obama called on both houses of Congress to post all targeted funding requests online, collected in one place instead of scattered across members' own websites:

I’m also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform. You have trimmed some of this spending and embraced some meaningful change. But restoring the public trust demands more. For example, some members of Congress post some earmark requests online. Tonight, I’m calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single website before there’s a vote so that the American people can see how their money is being spent.

Then he bragged on how his White House is posting visitor logs on the web:

To do that, we have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now. We face a deficit of trust -- deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve. That’s what I came to Washington to do. That’s why -- for the first time in history -- my Administration posts our White House visitors online. And that’s why we’ve excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.

From there, the references get somewhat more oblique. There was talk of making it easier for Americans to get insight into how their credit cards, bank accounts, and other financial involvements work, something that prooposals have focused in on doing online:

We need to make sure consumers and middle-class families have the information they need to make financial decisions. We can’t allow financial institutions, including those that take your deposits, to take risks that threaten the whole economy.

And nope, Obama didn't mention the YouTube follow-up program the White House kicked off last night, but was this a reference to a widely circulated video from Haiti?

And what keeps me going -- what keeps me fighting -- is that despite all these setbacks, that spirit of determination and optimism -- that fundamental decency that has always been at the core of the American people -- lives on.

It lives on in the 8-year old boy in Louisiana, who just sent me his allowance and asked if I would give it to the people of Haiti. And it lives on in all the Americans who’ve dropped everything to go some place they’ve never been and pull people they’ve never known from rubble, prompting chants of “U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A!” when another life was saved.

Right at the very end of his speech, Obama switched from monologue to dialogue mode, pointedly looking straight into the camera for, really, the first time all night, and addressing the American people. (Here's maybe where he might have dropped in a YouTube reference.):

The spirit that has sustained this nation for more than two centuries lives on in you, its people. (Emphasis mine.)

That's that. Not a tremendous amount in the speech that spoke directly to technology, the Internent, or even the national broadband plan that's set to hit his desk soon. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell went the more direct root in his Republican response:

[O]ur solutions aren't thousand-page bills that no one has fully read, after being crafted behind closed doors with special interests. In fact, many of our proposals are available online at, and we welcome your ideas on Facebook and Twitter.