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Posted at 11:50 PM ET, 01/25/2011

Top five State of the Union moments

By Alexandra Petri

The State of the Union is ... awkwardly crouched trying to decide whether this should be a standing ovation or not.

There was bipartisanship Tuesday night, all right. There was also ... whatever half of bipartisanship is. But the evening offered quite a few rewarding moments. This may or may not usher in a new era of smaller, more efficient government, politer disagreement, and more general fist-pumping in delight at living in America, but it certainly was a speech to remember. Its five top moments:

  1. Audible gasp from the gallery when President Obama mentions plan to freeze spending for next five years. "He has the power to freeze things by suggestion!" the person seemed to think. "What won't he freeze next?"
  2. Biden fist-pumps when President Obama alludes to the boy from Scranton seated behind him. This just reaffirms my notion that Joe Biden is being operated from within by an 8-year-old boy who is having a fantastic time. Nothing Joe Biden has ever done has completely disproved this theory.
  3. The long passage in the speech about American exceptionalism where an eagle flew out from behind President Obama as fireworks went off and a marching band popped out of the American flag dressed as the Constitution and did cartwheels down the aisle. Well, metaphorically speaking.
  4. The part where President Obama explained that he would make the government more efficient and ready for the 21st century. Given that we are currently in the second decade of the 21st century, this is something like my saying "I'm going to write my 2008 thank-you letters!" but hey, it's still a step.
  5. The ten solid, group standing ovations and varying number of additional semi-ovations either conducted from a general squatting position or that consisted of one person clapping enthusiastically whenever Pennsylvania was mentioned.
  6. And, finally:

  7. Sputnik. Because any time anyone mentions Sputnik, it is a beautiful moment.

By Alexandra Petri  | January 25, 2011; 11:50 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama, Big Deals, Congress, Top Lists  | Tags:  America, Barack Obama, state of the union  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The State of the Union Drinking Game
Next: Thanks, Academy! What the 2011 Oscar Nominees say about us


"This just reaffirms my notion that Joe Biden is being operated from within by an 8-year-old boy who is having a fantastic time."

Hmm. I am starting to believe that Petri is being operated from within by Dana Milbank. Who else who be so brave as to publish this terribly unfunny and vapid dreck?

Posted by: bobmoses | January 26, 2011 7:36 AM | Report abuse


Lighten up. Do you rain on every parade?

Posted by: colton | January 26, 2011 8:01 AM | Report abuse

It's good to see that there are six top five moments. Too bad #3 wasn't literally. That would've been the top five all by itself.

Posted by: filfeit | January 26, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I was wondering what Ms Petri looked like, so I did a google image search:

Alexandra Petri Washington Post.

This was the first hit (I tiny'ed it):

VERY impressive. She definitely looks like a writer.

Posted by: filfeit | January 26, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

The internet was way ahead of you on that Biden theory. Actually, technically Johnny Carson was way ahead of you on that Biden theory.

I think that was last year's SOTU. It certainly wasn't this year's, at least.

Posted by: dkp01 | January 26, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

American exceptionalism is racist! American's should be cowering in a corner while they borrow from China to buy more products from China. Cower!! *shaking fist*

Posted by: phntsm | January 26, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Alexandra Petri we will give you another try at funny. OK?

Posted by: BobSanderson | January 26, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Bob ~
An old actor once said "dying is easy. Comedy is hard." I'll add: snide is just boring.

I, personally, enjoy Alexandra's writing. I'd like to see more.

Posted by: PollyTicks | January 26, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

BobSanderson, if you don't get it, then that probably means your sense of humor is as interesting as your name. Which is tediously boring.

Posted by: purpledrank | January 26, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

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