In the second state of the union address that U.S. President Joe Biden delivered on Tuesday, February 7th, 2023, he did not unveil significant proposals. However, Biden offered to work with Republicans as he parried hecklers while allaying democratic concerns regarding his vigor as 2024 approached.

The president requested republicans to unite but stated that he wouldn’t back off his economic agenda. Biden did not offer far-reaching new ideas in his speech which had a litany of appeals from over 40 years in political life.

The president read rapidly through the prepared remarks and occasionally sparred with his congressional adversaries. Aged 80, Biden is the oldest U.S. President in history. He used the large platform for framing his argument for an expected re-election bid by depicting the Republican policy proposal as not meeting the needs of many Americans. Yet, he also said he would work across the aisle.

At significant moments, Republicans mocked the president by shouting that he was a liar and shaking their heads angrily. However, if republicans heckled to demonstrate the president’s frailty or to rattle him, it had the opposite effect. At times, he snapped back at the shouters with retorts and a sense of humor. When they accused him of misstating their desire to reduce Social Security and Medicare, Mr. Biden turned the heckling against the republicans quickly, saying he was happy to see their “conversion” on the issue.

For the president’s supporters, some of whom have doubted if he can remain in office for another six years, the moment was a chance to imagine how he would perform on the campaign trail in 2024. For Biden’s campaign advisers, the fact that he is agile on his feet is likely a source of relief.

The president also pledged repeatedly that a second term was rational so he could complete his job. He stated that his administration had accomplished several things, including ensuring drug prices remained low, making housing and child care cost-effective, and raising taxes that the wealthy paid. The president also said he had many other things to do for America’s benefit.

President Biden also promised to create an economy that benefits everyone and restore the nation’s soul. As his speech ended, Biden spoke about one of the most significant themes of the presidency: that the world and the U.S.A. stand at an inflection point with democracy being at stake abroad and at home. He said the war in Ukraine threatened a European nation’s sovereignty.