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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Grading the State of the Union

Australian radio interviewed American political scientist Peverill Squire of the University of Missouri about the president's State of the Union address:

PEVERILL SQUIRE: I think he earned a good solid B. I don't think it was an exceptional speech.

JANE COWAN: Peverill Squire is a professor of political science at the University of Missouri.

PEVERILL SQUIRE: Well I think he managed to avoid going into great detail which tends to lose his audience and I think he spoke in some fairly broad terms about the challenges we face and I think it was in that sense a fairly honest speech.

JANE COWAN: Did the president go into enough detail though to be credible on cutting the deficit? He didn't say exactly how that would be done.

PEVERILL SQUIRE: I don't think any American politician right now has much credibility on the details of cutting the budget deficit.

I think both parties are talking in very general terms because they want to avoid the unpleasantness that comes with making specific cuts.

So I think he probably did about as well as he could. You know talking about a freeze on a small portion of the budget is probably sufficiently painful that it begins to get people's attention.