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President Barack Obama gave a speech Tuesday at the National Archives that stood in almost perfect counterpoint to the Republican presidential debate that took place that evening in Las Vegas: Against the rising Republican tide of anger toward immigrants, Obama anchored himself among the historical documents that define American tolerance.As Obama prepares to begin the last year of his presidency, he stands in an unusual position on the national stage: He is the rationalist, a creature of intellect rather than emotion.The rise of Trump has surprised most pundits, but it doesn't seem to shock Obama.It would be good if Obama were better at projecting the rationalist's faith in this moment of irrational politics.Those are the questions the country should want asked, but Obama hasn't found a way to make them sound like good leadership. Obama has a year remaining in which to craft his message better, so that it reassures and galvanizes a frightened country.
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