Health care, energy and education reform.
Oh, and economic recovery.
But mainly, economic recovery.
President Obama sought to portray — and largely achieved, I believe — a sense of urgency about the changes required to alter the short-term and long-term direction of the country.
His delivery was not what we have seen in the past — the smooth, thoughtful, patient laying out of problems and solutions. Maybe it was nervousness at the stakes; maybe it was a conscious choice on his part. I think it was probably some of both. The urgency he felt was the urgency he expressed.
He was driving the lesson home: Things are tough. Things must change.
On foreign policy, he drove it home too. America does not torture. America does not shy from confronting its challenges. America will protect itself.
Time will tell whether he — and we — can pull it off. It is very much in question. I don’t think he was reassuring, and if he was trying for reassurance, he failed. But if he was trying to portray a sense that he understood what is at stake, that he understands the importance of this moment and this challenge, he succeeded.
He is usually cool and ice. Tonight he was more fiery and hot, more so than he ever appeared on the campaign trail.