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Cameras Focus on Reaction of Joint Chiefs of Staff After Obama's State of the Union Line


Were they making a statement?


President Barack Obama received a total of 67 rounds of applause during his final State of the Union address Tuesday, down from 85 last year. However, as PBS notes, the Joint Chiefs of Staff reserved their applause throughout the speech.

Image source: PBS

The cameras actually focused on the military leaders when Obama touted the United States as the "most powerful nation on earth" and refuted "rhetoric" that America's enemies are "getting stronger."

"I told you earlier all the talk of America�s economic decline is political hot air," Obama said during his final State of the Union address Tuesday night. "Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. Let me tell you something � the United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It�s not even close."

As Obama finished making those remarks, the camera panned to the Joint Chiefs.

While it's impossible to determine whether the military leaders were actually making a statement by withholding applause, it is not unheard of for the often stoic Joint Chiefs of Staff to indeed express support for the president's statements during the State of the Union.

Here's just one example where the Joint Chiefs reserved applause � and then later delivered a standing ovation to Obama:

In his address Tuesday, Obama went on to tout U.S. spending on the military as higher than the next eight countries combined.

"Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world," he said. "No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that's the path to ruin. Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office."

Several Republicans criticized Obama after his address for not spending more time addressing national security, especially the Islamic State.

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) said he seriously questions whether America's stature among other nations is as high as Obama said it is "when we have a president who makes red lines that he doesn�t enforce, when we have a president who withdraws from different parts of the world and allows the Taliban to resurrect, allows Al Qaeda to start to resurrect, allows ISIS or Daesh to get stronger by the day, allows Iran, the chief sponsor of terrorism to fire missiles within a 1,000 yards plus of one of our ships and does nothing in response."

GOP presidential candidate Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also slammed Obama as underestimating the strength of the Islamic State.

"The President continues to be in denial of reality," fellow GOP presidential contender Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said in a statement. "He would have us believe that global warming is our greatest threat, our military is as strong as it can be, the economy is working for American families, and that the key to alleviating poverty is more government dependence. The reality is very different."

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