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Setting the tone

February 25, 2009 2:13:52 PM PST
Oh yes indeed, it was quite a speech last night. The new President seemed to heed the advice of Bill Clinton that he should strike a more inspiring tone, not just the gloom-and-doom that reality might otherwise suggest.

And President Obama did that. No question, the man is an orator, and he certainly hit his stride as the 5,900-word speech progressed. (SEE THE SPEECH HERE)

And Gov. Bobby Jindal did himself no favors with his rambling speech, especially following the more-polished Obama.

But the headlines coming out of the State of the Union that wasn't really a State of the Union were two small items that crossed the back-channel emails during the speech and the Republican response: The use of Twitter. Both Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich used Twitter to jot their notes and impressions of Pres. Obama's speech.

And that we became aware of it is most fascinating.

Has this glorified instant messaging, where anyone can make note of anything, suddenly eclipsed the longer form thought pieces? Perhaps it has.

Do we care what any one particular person cares or thinks at any particular moment? Hard to imagine. But how else to explain the enormous popularity of Twitter and places like Facebook, which urge subscribers to let others know what they're doing at that very moment.

Frankly, I'm not so sure I want to know. And I'm pretty sure most people don't want to know what I'm doing at any given moment. In fact, I'm totally sure.

We'll have the latest on the economy, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, the violence in Newark continues. Last night, the third shooting this week in New Jersey's largest and most troubled city. Five people, ages 17 to 43, shot at a housing complex in Newark's West Ward. And now police have arrested a 14-year-old boy as the gunman.

What happened to Mayor Booker's highly touted campaign to quell all the violence? We're in Newark tonight.

And quite a little spraying match going on between the Governor of Connecticut and the highest paid state employee. Jim Calhoun is the head basketball Coach at UConn, where his $1.6 million salary (he says it's actually higher) is tops of all state workers.

A blogger over the weekend asked Calhoun, not exactly known for his tact, whether he's going to give back any of his salary because the state is in tough financial straits.

"Not a dime back," snapped Calhoun. And then he got angry, calling the questioner stupid and telling him to "shut up."

There are - what? - about 347 better ways for the coach to have handled that situation. He chose one of the worst. Today, Gov. Jodi Rell called it an "embarrassing display .... his whole tone." And she said that she bets Calhoun would, if he could, like to have a "do-over" of his reaction.

But there ain't do-overs for most people in most situations. We're efforting reaction, at 11. (WATCH THE VIDEO AND VOTE HERE)

And Scott Clark tonight looks at Alex Rodriguez's first road game of the spring -- and his first game since his admission he used steroids.

No surprise, A-Rod was booed in Dunedin, Florida for the pre-season game between the Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays.

He responded by hitting a home run.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus the AccuWeather forecast. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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