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President Barack Obama tackled weighty issues in this year’s State of the Union address, including increasing the minimum wage, tackling immigration reform and expanding preschool education.
In a nod to Hollywood, Obama invoked AMC’s Mad Men in pledging to help narrow the wage gap between men and women, and promote policies that supported working mothers.
“It is time to do away with policies that belong in a Mad Men episode,” Obama said. “I believe when women succeed, America succeeds.”
Obama also vowed to issue an executive order mandating federal contractors pay a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour.
The president spoke about multiple issues important to members of the entertainment industry, reiterating the country’s support for Israel.
“As we speak, American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there, to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel,” he said.
The president also touted natural gas for helping bring jobs back to the country, calling it “the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.” He vowed to “cut red tape” for states wanting to build factories that run on natural gas. Obama also said he had “imposed prudent limits” on the use of drones and said 2014 needs to be the year the prison at Guantanamo Bay is closed.
“We counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action, but by remaining true to our Constitutional ideals and setting an example for the rest of the world,” Obama said.
Among the crowd of politicians were openly gay NBA player Jason Collins, who was the guest of First Lady Michelle Obama, and Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson, who was the guest of Louisiana Rep. Vance McAllister.
— Vance McAllister (@RepMcAllister) January 29, 2014
However, Vice President Joe Biden became the big star of the night online — with screengrabs of his colorful facial expressions and jokes that he played on his phone during the SOTU — making the rounds on Twitter. (Biden did look down often during the speech.)
— Ethan Klapper (@ethanklapper) January 29, 2014
— Cyrus Dowlatshahi (@cdowlatshahi) January 29, 2014
biden now scrolling through his twitter timeline pic.twitter.com/Q614uXVqjo
— samir mezrahi (@samir) January 29, 2014
Meanwhile, the Grammys invaded the State of the Union address, with Pharrell’s now-famous hat being transposed onto Obama’s head in one meme, and Daft Punk photoshopped in place of Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner.
Bold headwear choice! pic.twitter.com/59AzYscBoE
— Matt Bellassai (@MattBellassai) January 29, 2014
— Mark S. Luckie (@marksluckie) January 29, 2014
After the speech, MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd praised the president, saying his speech “emphasized the importance of working with our trading partners to bolster investment, encourage economic development and create jobs around the world.”
“We support the president’s vision and join him in working toward the completion of a high-standard, commercially meaningful Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, and the passage of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act,” Dodd said in a statement. “The film and television industry is one of the few that consistently generates a positive balance of trade in virtually every market we enter. A strong TPP agreement will allow U.S. creative content to expand into foreign markets, fostering legitimate digital trade and therefore generating enormous benefit to both creators and consumers. The TPA establishes a clear path for accomplishing these priorities, and we look forward to working with the president and members of Congress to continue bringing the highest quality movies and television shows to audiences across the globe.”
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek