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Hanging Out With the NewsHour: State of the Union Reactions

PBS NewsHour politics editor Christina Bellantoni hosted a Google hangout before and after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday. This is part two of the discussion containing reaction to the speech. Part one is below.

Before and after President Obama’s State of the Union address, the NewsHour hosted a Google hangout to talk with voters, journalists and a Tufts University historian about expectations and reaction to the big speech.

I hosted the chat with NewsHour regular Todd Zwillich of PRI’s “The Takeaway,” Evan McMorris-Santoro of Talking Points Memo, Jon Ward of Huffington Post, Tufts professor Peniel Joseph, Debi Rapson of New Hampshire and Sam Pritchard of Iowa. Zwillich was the newcomer to this group, which also participated in our State of the Union watch party in 2012.

We previewed the address and walked through the big picture and context as the president came into the chamber.

Pritchard, a Drake University student we met when he participated in the Iowa caucuses last winter, talked about his views of the president, the state of politics and his own job prospects after graduation. Rapson outlined her own fears about the economy, noting her paycheck went down when the payroll tax cut was allowed to expire in January.

We chatted about the gun control debate and immigration, and Peniel said he expected Obama to offer a sweeping vision to partner up with his inaugural address.

You can watch part one of the hangout here or below:

After Sen. Marco Rubio’s Republican response to the president’s speech, the crew came back to highlight notable moments.

I noted that Rubio’s water break distracted from an interesting point he made about his own background — that he only recently paid off his student loan debt. Sound familiar? That’s something Obama spoke about frequently on the campaign trail in 2007 and 2008.

We walked through some of the major proposals from the speech, including Obama’s call for a $9 minimum wage. Zwillich, who was in the chamber for the speech, detailed the likelihood of that passing (slim) and previewed the budget battles and gun control efforts to come.

Both Rapson and Pritchard said Obama’s address exceeded their expectations.

You can watch part two of our hangout here or above.

What did you think of the State of the Union address? Consider the comments below an open thread for discussion.

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