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Bill Shore
Non-profit leader

Bill Shore

Bill Shore is founder and executive director of Share Our Strength, the nation’s leading organization working to end childhood hunger in America.

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Question: From a leadership perspective--moving the country and the political process away from division and gridlock and toward consensus, confidence and action--how would you grade President Obama's State of the Union speech?

The president gets points for avoiding divisiveness and focusing on the future; but while saying "We do big things," he failed to propose any that we could rally around. He said it is our "Sputnik moment" but proposed no "put a man on the moon" corollary. If you were a technology entrepreneur, there was a lot to like. If you were one of the 48 million Americans living below the poverty line, you must feel not only voiceless but invisible.

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By Bill Shore

 |  January 26, 2011; 10:29 AM ET
Category:  Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Mr. Shore,
I share your concern for the poor among us, and I believe this President does also. Witness these quotes from his speech:
"I've seen it in the shuttered windows of once booming factories, and the vacant storefronts on once busy Main Streets. I've heard it in the frustrations of Americans who've seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear -- proud men and women who feel like the rules have been changed in the middle of the game."
"As we speak, this [new health care] law is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their patients' -- parents' coverage."
"...I'm willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without. But let's make sure that we're not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens."
"To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans' guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market."
"Let us serve them [our troops and their families] as well as they've served us -- . . . by providing them with the care and benefits that they have earned, and by enlisting our veterans in the great task of building our own nation."
While I agree that the focus of the speech, given the change in the makeup of the House of Representatives, was on reining in spending and making certain that value was received for expenditures made, it does you no good to overstate your complaints.
I urge you, instead, to give the President a chance and wait to see how he attempts to move this fractious Congress forward toward a better tomorrow for all Americans.

Posted by: Lamentations | January 27, 2011 12:33 PM
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