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The Abrams Response Was Good on Delivery. The Optics and Messaging Not So Much.

Stacey Abrams managed to avoid the typical troubles of delivering State of the Union responses. She was way better than that Kennedy last year and she was better than most of the Republicans who responded to Barack Obama. She did way better than Schumer and Pelosi a few weeks ago. Democrats should be happy with her success, notwithstanding the Walking Dead zombies behind her slightly out of focus.

On substance, however, there were problems and I actually don’t just say that from a partisan position.

The Democratic women in the House all wore white together. Abrams probably should have coordinated on that one. The muted tones and lighting were in contrast to the wave of women at the State of the Union.

Her Democratic counterparts in Washington all loudly applauded the economic news delivered by the President, most memorably about having the most women in the workforce. Abrams chose instead to talk down the economy. She made a claim about truck drivers and their fortunes that most truck drivers will tell you is not so. In fact, after it was over I did a national radio show taking listener reaction to the State of the Union. Several truck drivers called in to take issue with her claims.

Then there was the past. Abrams is not an elected Democrat. The Democrats are pretty clearly trying to set her up for her next run against Georgia Republican David Perdue for the Senate. But it was a bit odd to hear her talk about her past success and to note on screen she was a former candidate. It makes you wonder about the Democrats’ bench.

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