During last night’s State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama called on both parties to put aside partisan politics, stand together to face the nation’s greatest challenges, and seize “our generation’s Sputnik moment.”
In 1972, RN articulated a similar message, recalling the 1946 State of the Union and admiring President Truman’s willingness to ascend above the Washingtonian rancor and govern in the national interest:
I shall never forget that moment. The Senate, the diplomatic corps, the Supreme Court, the Cabinet entered the Chamber, and then the President of the United States. As all of you are aware, I had some differences with President Truman. He had some with me. But I remember that on that day–the day he addressed that joint session of the newly elected Republican 80th Congress, he spoke not as a partisan, but as President of all the people-calling upon the Congress to put aside partisan considerations in the national interest.
The Greek-Turkish aid program, the Marshall Plan, the great foreign policy initiatives which have been responsible for avoiding a world war for over 25 years were approved by the 80th Congress, by a bipartisan majority of which I was proud to be a part.
RN would put these principles into practice. 1972 saw a nation begin to heal itself led by a President who would open relations with China just a month later, ease tensions with the Soviet Union by May and lay the groundwork for the peace in Vietnam which would go into effect at the beginning of the next year.