Members of Congress Discuss President Obama

On Jan. 25, Alhurra Television aired live President Barak Obama’s second State of the Union address and the Republican responses, with simultaneous Arabic translation, to millions of viewers in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Following the State of the Union address and the Republican responses, Alhurra provided in-depth analysis from guests from the United States and the Middle East who discussed the significance of the State of the Union address on U.S. foreign policy in the region. 

Alhurra coverage also featured reactions from Democrat and Republican lawmakers including Rep Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep Jim Moran (D-VA), Rep Joe Barton (R-TX), Rep Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ).

In addressing the foreign policy aspects of President Obama’s speech, Alhurra guests praised the success of the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia.  Rep. Donald Payne said of President Obama “I thought it was courageous to talk about his stance with the people of Tunisia, which is a move we do not see much in the Arab community where the voice of the people finally said enough is enough.”  Rep. Jim McDermott said, “It is wonderful to see people take knowledge and demand accountability of their leadership and I think what the Tunisians are doing is tumultuous, it is chaotic, but that is how democracy starts.  They all start that way.  The French started that way.  We started that way.”  

Rep. Jim Moran expressed his pleasure on President Obama’s comments regarding Muslim Americans and Afghanistan.  Rep. Moran stated, “He [the president] made clear that Muslims living in the United States are vital part of the American family, that needed to be said, I am glad he said it.”   He added, “In Afghanistan, he says we are going to start reducing troops this year, I hope that is the case, because we’ve got to turn the country to the Afghan people… we are not a colonial power.  We don’t want to dominate people.  We don’t want to occupy any people.  We want them to be free, to fulfill their own ambitions, their dreams and their individual freedom.” 

Rep. Keith Ellison commented on the situation in Iraq as saying “What he said about Iraq, it is true.  We have seen a hundred thousand troops coming out from Iraq.  It looks like we are getting out of there.  It is something I have been demanding since I came to Congress.”  Rep. Joe Barton also expressed his support of democracy in Iraq by saying “I hope the President continues to support the democracy in Iraq.  I support as the President does the war against terrorism in Afghanistan.”