For a politician who has fought his last election, U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last week sounded a lot like a stump speech from the campaign trail. More significantly, a man who many expected — or hoped — would be chastened and reflect on the resounding defeat his party received in the November midterm elections instead came out swinging, arguing that it was time to “turn the page,” and then outlined an aggressive and ambitious agenda for his last two years. In truth, Obama’s State of the Union was a campaign speech, one intended to define and frame the stakes in the 2016 ballot.

The Democratic Party was soundly thrashed in the midterm elections, in a vote that Republicans characterized as a referendum on Obama’s presidency. With control of both houses of Congress, the GOP believes that they have the whip hand in Washington and that Obama should now be ready to embrace their priorities. Contrition was not on the menu in the State of the Union, however.

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