President Barack Obama delivered a 61-minute State of the Union address Tuesday with a new theme — putting his emphasis on investing in making America’s economy more competitive in a more challenging world.

Comparing this moment to the era of Sputnik (1957), when many Americans felt a sense of urgency to strengthen the nation so that it could defeat the Soviet Union, Obama tried to sound like John F. Kennedy by conveying a similar sense of purpose. Beyond the call to join this common goal, however, the speech was not as clear when it comes to prescription.

Much of the rest of his address focused on bipartisanship and civility, as well as the need to reduce federal spending and reorganize government.

“We need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world,” he said. Republicans, who took control of the House in the midterm elections, faulted the president for not focusing on cutting government spending to rein in deficits.

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