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February 7, 2018

SOTU: Trump Hit A Grand Slam and Touched All Bases

  Tribune News Service

By virtually any traditional measure -- as well as a few nontraditional measures -- President Donald Trump's first State of the Union (SOTU) address was a great success. Let us count the ways.

The polls: A CBS poll released shortly after the speech reported that 75 percent of those watching approved of it, and 80 percent said the president was trying to unite the country. Importantly, two-thirds said the speech made them feel proud.

In a Politico/Morning Consult poll, 35 percent of those watching gave the president an "A" for his speech and 25 percent gave him a "B." Only 26 percent gave him either a "D" or "F."

Those numbers would be good for any president's State of the Union address. But given Trump's usually low approval ratings, that's a very positive response.

The audience: The Nielsen Company reported that 45.6 million people watched the State of the Union message on TV. That was the sixth largest SOTU audience, a solid turnout, though not a record.

Of course, Nielsen's numbers only reflected cable and broadcast TV networks. However, more and more people are bypassing TV and viewing such events online, so total viewership likely was much larger than the official number.

The tone: Trump appeared presidential in his demeanor, gracious to the opposition -- supporting several policy initiatives that Democrats want -- and he stayed on message. All three tasks can be challenging for this president. So when he achieves them, it's a yuuge success.

Ironically, Trump's presidential stature during the speech was magnified, rather than diminished, by the Democrats' sour faces. It's common for the opposition party to remain in their seats more and applaud less than the president's party. But in this case, Democrats looked bitter and dejected -- even when the president highlighted the achievement of widely shared goals such aslow black and Hispanic unemployment rates.

The catchy phrases: State of the Union addresses seldom rise to the level of high oratory. The speeches are more notable for a few catchy phrases that stick in people's minds, and Trump's was no exception.

One of Trump's best was the comment that "Americans are dreamers, too," which took a potent political issue -- illegal aliens brought to the U.S. as children, referred to as "Dreamers" -- and turned the notion on its head, making it apply to American citizens who also dream of achieving their goals

The human connection: Since Ronald Reagan's 1982 address, SOTU speeches have increasingly put a human face on political and policy issues.

Trump drew attention to several people sitting in the gallery, including a young man who put flags on veterans' graves, two families whose daughters were killed by gang members and a North Korean who escaped to freedom.

Every president incorporates the practice in their SOTU address these days, but none more effectively than Trump.

The wins: With 45 million-plus people watching, State of the Union addresses provide a platform for a president to tout his successes. Trump had a number of them, especially with respect to the economy, and he wasn't bashful about sharing them.

But the successes have to be experienced to be effective. President Barack Obama used to boast about economic recovery and the benefits of his health care law, but those claims just didn't ring true for millions of Americans.

By contrast, Trump's claim of a surging economy is reflected in news headlines and growing public optimism -- and completely believable.

The State of the Union has become a political showcase, where Americans who seldom pay much attention to politics can hear the president make the best case he -- and eventually she -- can for the country and his policies.

If the public comes away from that address informed, encouraged and proud, it was a successful speech. The polls show Donald Trump did exactly that.

The above piece has also appeared in the following newspaper outlets and websites:

FEBRUARY 12, 2018 // KEENE (NH) SENTINEL (9,860) / Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases in speech” by Merrill Matthews // http://www.sentinelsource.com/opinion/op-ed/trump-hit-a-grand-slam-and-touched-all-bases/article_a34fe5cf-fd03-53d5-8a3e-37a27f495fb6.html

FEBRUARY 12, 2018 // ARIZONA DAILY STAR // TUCSON (115,000) Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases in speech” by Merrill Matthews //http://tucson.com/ap/commentary/trump-hit-a-grand-slam-and-touched-all-the-bases/article_f6b6dc3c-a6ca-566a-8579-60575f26a3e4.html

FEBRUARY 12, 2018 // LEESBURG (FL) DAILY COMMERCIAL (21,327) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases in speech” by Merrill Matthews // http://www.dailycommercial.com/opinion/20180212/another-opinion-trump-hit-grand-slam-touched-all-bases-in-speech

FEBRUARY 11, 2018 // CHATTANOOGA SUNDAY TIMES FREE PRESS (112,730) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases in speech” by Merrill Matthews // https://www.pressreader.com/usa/chattanooga-times-free-press/20180211/282432759615080

FEBRUARY 11, 2018 // BEND (OR) BULLETIN (31,796) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases; Democrats looked glum” by Merrill Matthews // http://www.bendbulletin.com/opinion/5989760-151/commentary-pro-trump-hit-a-grand-slam-and

FEBRUARY 11, 2018 // FALL RIVER (MA) SUNDAY GAZETTE (13,847) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases; Democrats looked glum” by Merrill Matthews // News Library

FEBRUARY 10, 2018 // CANADA FREE PRESS / TORONTO / CANADA’S MOST  POPULAR OPINION WEB SITE WITH MORE THAN 900,000 DAILY VISITORS // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases; Democrats looked glum” by Merrill Matthews //http://canadafreepress.com/article/last-word-on-state-of-the-union-trump-hit-a-grand-slam-democrats-looked-glu

FEBRUARY 10, 2018 // ATTLEBORO (MA) SUN CHRONICLE (14,080) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases; Democrats looked glum” by Merrill Matthews // http://www.thesunchronicle.com/pro-trump-hit-a-grand-slam-and-touched-all-bases/article_00d931ce-77ff-506e-bf34-29a395b84978.html

FEBRUARY 9, 2018 // COLUMBIA (SC) THE STATE (70,980) * // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases; Democrats looked glum” by Merrill Matthews // News Library

FEBRUARY 9, 2018 // SHERMAN (TX) HERALD-DEMOCRAT (20,278) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases; Democrats looked glum” by Merrill Matthews http://www.heralddemocrat.com/opinion/20180209/pro-trump-hit-grand-slam-and-touched-all-bases-democrats-looked-glum

FEBRUARY 9, 2018 // NEW BEDFORD (MA) STANDARD-TIMES  (21,582) // Op-ed “Yes: Trump hit a grand slam in State of the Union speech” by Merrill Matthews http://www.southcoasttoday.com/opinion/20180209/was-trumps-first-state-of-union-speech-successful/1

FEBRUARY 9, 2018 // ELKTON (MD) QUINCY WHIG  (14,238) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam in State of the Union speech” by Merrill Matthews

http://www.cecildaily.com/opinion/columns/was-president-donald-trump-s-first-state-of-the-union/article_bfea9133-f8a6-5a47-a690-dbc6970171e5.html

FEBRUARY 8, 2018 // SPRINGFIELD (IL) STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER (44,772) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases; Democrats looked glum” by Merrill Matthews // http://www.sj-r.com/opinion/20180208/point-trump-hit-grand-slam-and-touched-all-bases-democrats-looked-glum

FEBRUARY 8, 2018 // KENNEWICK (WA) TRI-CITY HERALD  (30,895) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam in State of the Union speech” by Merrill Matthews

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/opinion/editorials/article199192584.html

FEBRUARY 8, 2018 // ADRIAN (MI) DAILY TELEGRAPH  (12,492) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam in State of the Union speech” by Merrill Matthews http://www.lenconnect.com/opinion/20180208/pro-con-merrill-matthews---yes-trump-hit-grand-slam-in-state-of-union-speech

FEBRUARY 8, 2018 // BLUEFIELD (WVA) DAILY TELEGRAPH  (15,056) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases; Democrats looked glum” by Merrill Matthews http://www.bdtonline.com/opinion/columns/trump-hit-a-grand-slam-with-address/article_b713f28a-4a42-5855-af8b-9489ce5731ea.html

FEBRUARY 8, 2018 // HOLLAND (MI) SENTINEL (15,881) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases; Democrats looked glum” by Merrill Matthews //http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/20180208/pro-trump-hit-grand-slam-and-touched-all-bases-democrats-looked-glum

 

FEBRUARY 8, 2018 // BEDFORD (PA) GAZETTE (10,000) // Op-ed “State of the Union a grand slam for Trump” by Merrill Matthews // http://www.bedfordgazette.com/news/2018-02-08/Editorial/Trump_hit_a_grand_slam.html

 

FEBRUARY 8, 2018 // YORK (PA) DISPATCH (22,361) // Op-ed “State of the Union a grand slam for Trump” by Merrill Matthews // https://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/opinion/2018/02/08/oped-state-union-grand-slam-trump/315898002/

 

FEBRUARY 6, 2018 // BRADENTON (FL) HERALD (33,897) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases; Democrats looked glum” by Merrill Matthews // http://www.bradenton.com/opinion/national-opinions/article198667664.html

 

FEBRUARY 6, 2018 // SACRAMENTO BEE (196,667) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases; Democrats looked glum” by Merrill Matthews // http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article198667664.html

 

FEBRUARY 6, 2018 //  BELLINGHAM (WA) HERALD (16,796) // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases; Democrats looked glum” by Merrill Matthews //  http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/news-services/article198667664.html

 

FEBRUARY 6, 2018 // ARCAMAX.COM / ARCAMAX PUBLISHING //  Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases; Democrats looked glum” by Merrill Matthews //  https://www.arcamax.com/politics/opeds/s-2047105

 

FEBRUARY 6, 2018 //  TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY / CHICAGO // Op-ed “Trump hit a grand slam and touched all the bases; Democrats looked glum” by Merrill Matthews //


 

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