Because he lacks a legacy—at least the good kind—no one expected much from President Bush’s final State of the Union address, which is probably why Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama managed to steal the spotlight. The Internet is buzzing over Monday’s sideshow.
But the extra attention cuts both ways. Clinton boldly marched right up to Ted Kennedy and shook his hand, but she also got caught checking with Obama before applauding the president.
Still, better mixed reviews than none at all. And the president wasn’t the only wallflower at the dance. John McCain and Mike Huckabee, though they weren’t there in person, stood with Bush in spirit, largely agreeing with what he had to say and not offering much to get excited about.
All eyes were on Democratic presidential frontrunners Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) Monday night as spectators and pundits followed their every move during President Bush’s final State of the Union address.
Clinton set observers atwitter when she waded through the crowd before the speech to shake hands with Democratic dean and senior Sen. Edward Kennedy (Mass.), who made headlines Monday by endorsing Obama in the primary.
In one instance Clinton appeared to gauge Obama’s response before showing her own.
When Bush warned the Iranian government that “America will confront those who threaten our troops, we will stand by our allies, and we will defend our vital interests in the Persian Gulf,” Obama jumped up to applaud. Clinton leaned across Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), seated to her left, to look in Obama’s direction before slowly standing.
Monday’s key players, pictured at a previous State of the Union speech.