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Biden’s State of the Union Address: A Call for Bipartisanship and International Cooperation

On Tuesday night, President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union address, and it was marked by a distinct shift in tone from previous such speeches.[0] In what was a soft launch for his 2024 presidential bid, Biden spoke with a conciliatory tone to Republicans and called for bipartisan cooperation to address the nation's most pressing issues.

This was in stark contrast to last year's address, when some of the splashiest remarks were centered on Russia's invasion of Ukraine. [1] Fortunately, Biden’s comments showed restraint and calm at a time of surging tensions between Washington and Beijing, and he struck a measured tone, noting that the U.S. will take necessary steps to defend itself, but also that he has “made clear with President Xi that we seek competition, not conflict.”[2]

Biden also touted the 12.1 million jobs created in his first two years, more than any president has created in four years, and he thanked Republicans who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure law, adding that if they could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason they can’t work together in this new Congress.

The address also marked a stark contrast to 2009, when Republican Rep. Joe Wilson shouted “You lie” during President Barack Obama’s speech to Congress.[3] Wilson’s breach in protocol was considered stunning, and no GOP leaders were willing to defend the congressman's heckling.[4] Biden, on the other hand, offered an olive branch to Republicans, and despite intense pressure to sound pugnacious, he chose to focus on the idea of the U.S.’s going head-to-head with China on industry.[1]

Overall, Biden’s address exemplified his foreign policy focus on Russia and China and showed his commitment to work with China where it can advance American interests.[2] He also showed his willingness to work with Republicans, if they could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason they can’t work together in this new Congress. By striking a measured tone and focusing on economic competition rather than military threat, Biden showed that he is ready to work with Republicans to address the nation's most pressing issues.

0. “11 Good and Normal Things Republicans Refused to Clap for During Biden’s State of the Union” The New Republic, 8 Feb. 2023,

1. “Biden's State of the Union address was smart on China” MSNBC, 8 Feb. 2023,

2. “Biden’s 2023 State of the Union: 5 winners and 2 losers”, 8 Feb. 2023,

3. “GOP's raucous State of the Union shows Biden faces new opposition” Business Insider, 8 Feb. 2023,

4. “Why Republican heckling of Biden’s State of the Union mattered” MSNBC, 8 Feb. 2023,