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Media Praise President Obama's 'Humility' In State of the Union

Immediately following President Obama's State of the Union address Wednesday night, ABC's George Stephanopoulos got reaction from Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, who observed: "There were at least three moments where he expressed explicit humility. 'I'm not - I know that people aren't sure I can deliver this change. I take my share of the blame for not explaining health care.'"

At the same time, both Stephanopoulos and Meacham agreed that Obama's speech was Reaganesque. Stephanopoulos argued: "What I saw there is the President not being contrite like Bill Clinton in 1995, much more defiant, more like Ronald Reagan in 1983." Meacham replied: "There was a lot of Reagan here."

On NBC's Today on Thursday, Matt Lauer cited Obama's "humility" to press former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on Republicans not supporting the President's agenda: "...you said about the President quote, 'if he does show humility and does try to find common ground, there are Republicans who will sign up for that.' He showed humility....will you now get behind this president and will other Republicans?" Bush rejected the notion that Obama was humble: "I don't think it's humble to say that you didn't communicate a message and that's the reason why people opposed the health care plan in front of Congress right now by a dramatic margin."

The Washington Post's Tom Shales promoted the same humble theme in a Thursday article:

Obama does have the ability to snatch humility from the jaws of hubris. While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pontificated about how honored and thrilled she was to be able to introduce the great and wonderful man, the expression on Obama's face, even the cock of his head, suggested he was basking and glowing in the praise. But later on, in the speech itself, he showed himself to be capable of healthful self-mockery....There was humility but no remorse in Obama's words or the way in which he delivered them. He hailed and commended American values and seemed also to personify some of them - directness, candor, neighborliness. At moments he was less the man in the White House than the guy next door.

-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.