Obama: "Answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach"

It's not completely finished yet, but the president's speech Tuesday night will contain at least some optimistic notes.

Published February 24, 2009 11:15PM (EST)

President Obama is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress at 9 p.m. EST tonight, delivering what amounts to -- but is not, at least officially -- his first State of the Union address. So far, the White House hasn't released much in the way of a preview, but the administration has e-mailed reporters these paragraphs from the speech, which indicate a more optimistic tone than the one Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's response predicts:

But while our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken; though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.

The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation. The answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and universities; in our fields and our factories; in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth. Those qualities that have made America the greatest force of progress and prosperity in human history we still possess in ample measure. What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more.

Presumably, there will be more warnings and more pessimism in the rest of the speech, which is expected to last about 50 minutes, counting time for the ritual standing ovations. It's hard to know for sure, though, as Salon hears that the White House has been telling Democrats that Obama is still working on the speech; we do know, though, that there will be several uses of an analogy comparing measures like the stimulus to a doctor prescribing needed medicine to a patient.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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