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Biden touts progress on economy, immigration despite wide disapproval

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-03-08 16:42

US President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, March 7, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - In a highly partisan State of the Union address Thursday night, US President Joe Biden launched a scorching attack on Donald Trump, his presumptive rival in the November election, and touted his achievements on issues such as inflation and immigration.

With Biden's approval ratings lingering below 40 percent for months, his remarks likely won't resonate with most Americans, who are dismayed by still high prices, an uncertain economy, a border crisis, and geopolitical conflicts, among others.

"I inherited an economy that was on the brink. Now our economy is the envy of the world!" Biden said in his third State of the Union address at the House Chamber. "Wages keep going up and inflation keeps coming down!"

But a recent Gallop poll showed that 45 percent of Americans rate current economic conditions in the country as poor, while just over one-quarter describe conditions as excellent (5 percent) or good (22 percent) and another 29 percent believe they are only fair.

The poll also showed that inflation continues to affect a majority of Americans, with 17 percent saying it is a "severe" hardship affecting their ability to maintain their standard of living and 46 percent reporting it is a "moderate" hardship.

In his speech, Biden said his team negotiated with a bipartisan group of Senators, leading to a bipartisan bill with the "toughest" set of border security reforms. His remark was loudly booed by Republican lawmakers present. Republicans recently rejected the border deal, saying it wasn't tough enough.

Republican Senator Katie Britt from Alabama gave Republicans' formal response to Biden's speech Thursday night, saying that the president created the border crisis and has "coddled criminals".

Six in 10 swing-state voters say Biden bears responsibility for a surge in migrants at the US-Mexico border, a recent Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll found, which means immigration has become a tough issue for Biden as he aims for reelection.

Biden delivered the speech amid the protracted conflict between Ukraine and Russia that saw lawmakers get increasingly frustrated with relentless US military aid to Ukraine, as well as the continued Israeli air and ground offensive in Gaza that makes the humanitarian crisis suffered by Palestinian civilians more dire day by day.

Polls have revealed that voters generally disapprove of Biden's management of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Younger Americans are particularly critical, expressing dissatisfaction with both Israel's actions and the administration's handling of the Gaza conflict.

During his State of the Union address, Biden tried to convince voters that his policies have been successful, and forcefully advocated for a second term in the White House while assuaging concerns about his age.

He consistently criticized Trump without mentioning his name. Instead, he used the term "my predecessor" over 10 times.

"Attacking his opponent directly in the first minutes of his speech is unprecedented and perhaps the most partisan start to a State of the Union address in modern memory," said Marc Thiessen, former speechwriter in President George W. Bush's administration, calling it "an utter disgrace".

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