Feb 14, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Former Obama adviser wants a humble Biden at his State of the Union

President Biden walking across the South Lawn of the White House on Feb. 10.
President Biden walking across the South Lawn of the White House on Feb. 10. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Humility is needed during President Biden's upcoming State of the Union address, David Axelrod, former senior adviser to former President Obama, wrote in an op-ed in the New York Times on Monday.

Why it matters: Biden will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress on March 1 after a year of legislative wins (the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law) and losses (his languishing Build Back Better agenda).

What he's saying: "The speech will command the largest television audience the president is likely to enjoy this year, and the temptation will be, as it always is, to herald his achievements and declare that we have navigated the storm," Axelrod wrote.

  • "But, Mr. President, proceed with caution. Talk about the things you and Congress have done to help meet the challenges Americans are facing, for sure. Lay out your goals for the future, absolutely," he added.
  • "Offer realistic hope for better days ahead. We desperately need it. But recognize that we are still in the grips of a national trauma. Polls show that the vast majority of Americans believe we are on the wrong track, and people will have little patience for lavish claims of progress that defy their lived experiences."
  • "The state of the union is stressed. To claim otherwise — to highlight the progress we have made, without fully acknowledging the hard road we have traveled and the distance we need to go — would seem off-key and out-of-touch."

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