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Keller @ Large: Biden attacks "predecessor" Trump in State of the Union address

Keller @ Large: Biden slams Trump in State of the Union address
Keller @ Large: Biden slams Trump in State of the Union address 03:42

BOSTON - You knew this was going to be less like a conventional State of the Union address and more like a political convention speech when chants of "four more years" rang out as President Joe Biden entered the House Chamber. And Biden seemed to relish the moment, wasting no time unleashing a high-energy assault on his political enemies.

"We have to stand up to Putin," he said right off the top. "Now my predecessor, a former Republican president, tells Putin 'do whatever the hell you want.' A former president actually said that, bowing down to a Russian leader. I think it's outrageous, it's dangerous and it's unacceptable."

That was one of 13 times Biden referred to "my predecessor," without ever uttering the name Donald Trump. He cast Trump and his allies as traitors for their January 6th equivocations, adding: "This is a moment to speak the truth and bury lies. Here's the simple truth - you can't love your country only when you win."

Biden took no prisoners on the issue of abortion rights. "My predecessor came to office determined to see Roe v. Wade overturned. He's the reason it's overturned. He brags about it. Look at the chaos that has resulted," he said. And with victims of that chaos looking on, he ridiculed the Supreme Court majority and the anti-choice right for what he termed political folly. "Those bragging about overturning Roe v. Wade have no clue about the power of women. But they found out. When reproductive freedom was on the ballot we won in '20, '22 and we'll win again in 2024."

There was much, much more, with the president calling on the Republicans to ignore Trump's objections and pass the bipartisan border security bill and challenging both sides in Gaza to end the humanitarian disaster there. There were moments of heckling and a few minor verbal stumbles.

But the Democrats loved it, repeatedly roaring their approval as the Republicans mostly sat glumly and fumed. And when Biden wasn't scorching his critics with high-decibel rhetoric, he was dropping his voice to lower the boom in a segment on cutting prescription costs: "My predecessor and many in this chamber want to take those prescriptions away by repealing the Affordable Care Act. I'm not going to let that happen," he said, dropping his voice and glaring in vintage "Dark Brandon" mode.

All to the visible dismay of the opposition.

One speech won't wipe away doubts about Biden's age that took three years to develop. But it's hard to imagine many undecided voters who tuned in with honest curiosity will come away thinking he's all washed up.

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