Michael Barone

"The debate is settled," he said. "Climate change is a fact." It is "already harming western communities suffering from drought and coastal cities dealing with floods."

Actually, temperatures have not increased over the last 15 years, as the global warming alarmists' models predicted. Perhaps they will over the longer run.

But most people who accept or reject global warming have the good sense to resist the temptation to claim that any recent unpleasant weather -- drought, floods, whatever -- confirms their view. Obama was unable to resist.

The president spent more time on foreign policy than expected, tacitly acknowledging mistakes. He admitted al Qaeda's "core leadership" is only on "a path to defeat" and its threat "has evolved" in Yemen, Somalia, Mali and Iraq.

That's an implicit admission that the failure to get an agreement to maintain some U.S. troops in Iraq has increased the threat -- and Obama could only say he hopes for such an agreement in Afghanistan.

On Syria, Obama said he would "support the opposition that rejects the agenda of terrorist networks" and work with allies to give the Syrian people "a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear." How?

Iran, he said, was forced to the negotiating table by tough sanctions, but he would veto the bill to add sanctions if negotiations fail -- but then would call for more himself. Huh?

The best part was the end. Obama told of meeting Army Ranger Cory Remsburg at a D-Day anniversary and then again after he was seriously injured in Afghanistan -- and how Remsburg is recovering and determined to serve again.

"Men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy," he said, in an eloquent paragraph recounting America's achievements over 200-plus years that everyone in the audience could agree with.

An excellent end to an overlong speech by an apparently chastened and weary president.

Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM