POLITICS - Reactions to Obama's speech

Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011

Reactions from across the political spectrum
"Parts of his speech were contradictory in that he seemed to be calling for a lot of new spending and at the same time calling for a freeze."
- Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine)
"Tonight's speech should have been called a State of the Stimulus, and the president should have admitted that it failed. . . . When the president says 'investment,' he means bigger federal government and higher taxes."
- Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)
"We're pleased to hear the president acknowledge the vital importance of Social Security and the need to protect this lifeline for future generations, but we are disappointed that he . . . seeks to address this bedrock of financial security in the context of reducing a deficit it didn't cause."
- A. Barry Rand, chief executive of AARP
"Tonight we heard a blueprint for how to move our country forward by investing in what works and cutting what doesn't. We heard a vision for keeping America a global economic superpower by out-educating, out-innovating and out-building our competition. . . . Republicans have a responsibility to work with us to create jobs instead of wasting time with pointless political stunts."
- Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.)
"The president spoke a great deal about fiscal discipline. I hope he's serious, and I hope we are, too."
- Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
"It's unfortunate that the administration seems poised to stifle what remains one of America's strongest job-creating industries."
- Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institut e
"We applaud President Obama's call for ending oil subsidies, transitioning to a 21st-century transportation system and enforcing common-sense safeguards to protect our air and water, but we object to his attempt to redefine clean energy to include nuclear and so-called clean coal."
- Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters
"The president called for new spending, although he repeatedly called it 'investment.' But this is nothing more than increased Washington spending in the style of the failed stimulus."
- Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
"We must cut spending. While President Obama has asked Congress to increase the debt limit, we must make it clear that spending cuts must come first."
- Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-Tex.)
"There's a lot to do, and the Senate is the front lines where that work will take place and the institution where adult leadership can ensure that tonight's call for bipartisanship is a real beginning and not just a rhetorical highlight."
- Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.)
"Tonight made clear that President Obama, Republicans and Democrats share a common goal of reducing debt. Unfortunately, House Republicans . . . are choosing controversial budget cuts that would privatize Social Security and dismantle Medicare."
- Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.)
"This is exactly where we need to be. This is a speech that's focused on economic growth and the nation's competitiveness. The president is spot on."
- David Kendall, senior fellow with the centrist think tank Third Way
"Tonight, I had hoped to hear the president outline real solutions to fundamentally tackle our national debt crisis and help clear the way for urgently needed job creation. Instead, we heard him talk about more 'investment,' which is what most Floridians I know would simply call more government spending."
- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
"The president outlined a Sputnik-type commitment to the entrepreneurial spirit of the American people, through which we can lead the world in innovation, secure energy independence and create clean energy jobs, and strengthen small businesses. That plan can build a broad-based prosperity that will ensure economic security for our children."
- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
"Leading the world in innovation must start with a strategy that fosters private investment and economic growth. . . . Absent from the president's speech, apart from mentioning Sputnik as a metaphor, was any vision for our nation's space agency."
- Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-Tex.)
"Reducing the deficit, supporting free trade, attracting the best and brightest and investing in infrastructure and education are key to our recovery, and we support the president's focus on these issues as part of his innovation-driven agenda."
- Gary Shapiro, chief executive of the Consumer Electronics Association

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