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Obama returns to old form

January 28, 2010 1:38:21 PM PST
It was the Barack Obama of old - and with a society where a year ago means old, I suppose that means it was the Obama of a year ago.

I'm not talking about so much about whether you agree with the President or not - I'm talking about the fire in his speech, his passion for the words he used.

He took on everyone in his first State of the Union address - his own party, the Republicans, even the Supreme Court, whose Justices sat stony silent as he chastised the decision to throw out the rules of corporate contributions to political campaigns. One Justice mouthed "that's not right" to the President's claims about the consequences of the split decision. And today, one Supreme Court Historian judged that because of this "insult," he wouldn't be surprised if the Justices did not attend next year's State of the Union.

So be it. The President seemed to rise above the dirty business of politics - part of his re-birth since the seeming death of health care reform and last week's Republican victory in the Massachusetts election to replace the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Today, the President hit the road, campaign style, pushing a new jobs bill. It's something he should have been doing for the past year. Will it make a difference now? We'll have reaction, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, weather's making news. An Arctic blast is coming in tonight - and Lee Goldberg says the wind chills will be in the single digits and even close to zero.

And we'll have reaction to Mayor Bloomberg's cuts to bridge New York City's $5 billion budget gap. Thousands of City workers will be gone, and the Mayor plans to eliminate four fire engine companies.

And our Jim Dolan is in Afghanistan, embedded with the military, and taking a closer look at the planned "surge" by U.S. troops, and the dangers they're facing.

And we couldn't end this space without a mention of J.D. Salinger, the author best for "The Catcher in the Rye." He died today, at 91, at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire.

Reading his book has been, since the 1950s, something of an initiation rite for kids entering teenagerdom.

The protagonist, Holden Caulfield, was a rebellious non-conformer, and his persona and attitudes have resonated with young people for the past 60 years.

In fact, 60 million copies of the book have been sold - and passed on from one generation to the next. My teenage kids read it, and I believe were moved by it.

He was one of the most famous authors and yet, in success, he sought seclusion. He declined every interview request - and today his spokesman said that, "in keeping with his life-long, uncompromising desire to protect and defend his privacy, there will be no service. He will be missed by the few he was close to every bit as much as by the readers who loved reading him."

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Rob Powers (in for Scott Clark) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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