President Obama's effusive praise for the military was one of the most striking parts of his State of the Union address Tuesday night as he urged Washington insiders to use the armed forces as a model for how to work together and unite behind common goals.
It was a savvy move because it tied Obama to one of the most admired institutions in the country--the military--and one which is held in very high regard on Capitol Hill.
Obama started and ended his speech with lavish compliments for the men and women in uniform. He said the armed forces have worked with "courage, selflessness and teamwork" to accomplish the missions he has set for them, such as ending the Iraq war with honor, finding al Qaeda terrorist "operatives" around the world and winding down the war in Afghanistan.
He was particularly effusive in praising the Navy SEAL team that killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden during a daring raid that he ordered last May. "One of my proudest possessions," he said, "is the flag that the SEAL team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden. On it are each of their names. Some may be Democrats, Some may be Republicans. But that doesn't matter...All that mattered that day was the mission. No one thought about politics. No one thought about themselves."
"Each time I look at that flag," the president said, "I'm reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those fifty stars and those thirteen stripes."