Obama's Stirring Words Offer Hope, Few Details

President Barack Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress was inspiring. In his cool, brilliant style, this man can stir emotions and make us feel better.
His poise and confidence, his stirring words reminded you of great presidential orators of the past, including Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jack and Bobby Kennedy. I was a kid when FDR delivered his fireside chats on radio but I remember how moved my parents and grandparents were by his words and his oratorical skill. The Kennedys, too, made us feel good about our country and ourselves. 
For New York and the nation's other cities, hard hit by the economic troubles that afflict America, President Obama had words of hope, although the speech was short on details. While the President didn't mention it, there is one concrete sign of help coming to New York. A bill will be considered soon by the House providing 70 million dollars in new funds for federal 9/11 health programs, covering specifically World Trade Center medical monitoring and treatment expenses. It's a start on help to this area, albeit a relatively small one.  
America awaits the full details of Obama's promise of “bold action and big ideas.”  His address brought the members of Congress, including Republicans, to their feet again and again. His tone overall was a departure from the essentially pessimistic speeches he's delivered since his inauguration. The President was optimistic. He evoked cheers with the promise that, “working together, we can lift the nation from the depths of this crisis, put people back to work and restart the engine of our prosperity.”
In words reminiscent of FDR, he appealed to Americans to “confront without fear the challenges of our time and summon that enduring spirit of an America that does not quit.”
In the gallery sitting with Michelle Obama was Ty'Sheoma, a schoolgirl from South Carolina who wrote a letter to the President declaring: “We are not quitters.”  The President had picked up that theme, giving the youngster credit. As the assembled lawmakers cheered, the first lady hugged the eighth grader who seemed both embarrassed and thrilled.
The President was so anxious to get going that he started his address too soon. Before Speaker Nancy Pelosi could introduce him, he said: “Madame Speaker.” And she had to interrupt him immediately by introducing him in the time-honored way. He smiled and launched the speech all over again. There was another apparently unscripted moment when he turned to Vice President Joe Biden, whom he promised would oversee the spending of billions of dollars to guard against corruption.  He looked up at Biden with a grin and said: “Nobody messes with Joe.”
An emotional highlight of the night that deeply affected both Republicans and Democrats was the appearance of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The frail lady is suffering from pancreatic cancer. She smiled as warm applause and cheers filled the room. And Obama and Justice Ginsburg embraced.
The President promised to move swiftly to provide funds for health care, education and energy. He promised a brighter future.  He warned that banks must pitch in. ” If we don't restart lending our recovery will be choked off before it begins.”
A few years ago, Barack Obama wrote a book titled “The Audacity of Hope.”  His words to Congress embodied that spirit. The question is how fast, how well can Obama's fond hopes be translated into meaningful actions.                

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