On Obama and style:
He appeared to be in an unusually relaxed, even bouncy mood. He exuded confidence. The speech he delivered was no literary masterpiece (though by State of the Union standards it was downright Nabokovian), but it was a small triumph of tone and subtle theatrics. Despite the grandiosity of the setting—the curlicued proscenium, the massed dignitaries, the absurd aerobics of the endless standing ovations—the President managed to create a surprisingly intimate, almost conversational effect, as if the well of the House were a fireside and he was having a chat.