Getting Some Jabs In

In November 2008, when then-Senator Barack Obama was elected president, the state of the union was not strong.

The economy was in shambles, unemployment was rising, two ongoing wars in the Middle East were unpopular, and plenty of social issues clamored for attention.

In his inaugural address, the new president called for change to come from the bottom up, “For everywhere we look, there is work to be done.”

Tomorrow night, when President Obama gives his final State of the Union Address, he’ll stake claim to a surging economy, a 5 percent unemployment rate, and a host of domestic and foreign policy accomplishments since he took office.

Most recently he’s stirred up the gun issue and spoken of his hope to close the Guantanamo Bay prison before he leaves office.

Congressional Republicans have warned the president to leave contentious issues out of his SOTU address.

Some GOP supporters have already complained about the president’s plan to leave an empty seat in the first lady’s box to honor gun violence victims.

For all it’s honorable intent, the empty chair is no doubt a bit of a dig at an infamous incident during the 2012 Republican National Convention. Clint Eastwood brought an empty chair onstage and spoke to it as though it were an imaginary Mr. Obama. His rambling speech was critical of the president and his policies.

Four years later, the president is not shying away from getting some jabs in at his opponents before he leaves office.

For a compelling history of the 2008 campaign, as told by news media, politicians, and ordinary people, see King's Dream: Barack Obama Becomes President of the United States of America.