Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011
We're gathering reactions to President Obama's State of the Union address from across the political spectrum.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tx.) on MSNBC's "Morning Joe":
Obama's speech, while patriotic, "was combined with some very small, old, recycled ideas."
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on the seating arrangement:
"I hope we do it like this forever."
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on NBC's "Today":
"I think he missed a great opportunity here to take the deficit more seriously. ... He showed no leadership on that."
"I wouldn't give the president all failing marks on this."
House majority leader Eric Cantor (Va.) on CNBC regarding his invitation to sit next to minority leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.):
"I was hopeful that I would set the example that [the leadership] could all sit together ...unfortunately former speaker Pelosi saw otherwise."
Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell on ABC's "Good Morning America":
"Hypocritical. ...he would say one thing and then actually did another."
"There [were] a lot of things that I liked. But those catch phrases sounded familiar because he took them right from tea party candidates. ...He used tea party soundbites to announce more big government spending programs."
Former House speaker New Gingrich on FOX News:
"This was a very poll-driven speech...I love the title, but he didn't tell us anything about winning the future."
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio):
"As I've stated in the past, when the president is willing to work with us on the people's priorities, we'll be ready to work with him. Unfortunately, even as he talked about the need for fiscal discipline, President Obama called for more 'stimulus' spending without making a commitment to the cuts and reforms the American people are demanding. Adding to our debt and pushing us closer to bankruptcy for the sake of more 'stimulus' spending will not make our nation more competitive. A partial freeze is inadequate at a time when we're borrowing 41 cents of every dollar we spend, and the Administration is begging for another increase in the debt limit. Rather than lock in the job-crushing spending binge of the last two years, we are working to carry out our pledge to cut spending to pre-'stimulus,' pre-bailout levels and impose real spending caps. The people sent us here to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, and that's exactly what we intend to do.
"In the Republican Address, Paul Ryan did an excellent job of defining the size and scope of our fiscal challenges. It was exactly the kind of straightforwardness the people are expecting from us right now. He offered the American people a positive vision of how a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government can promote private sector job creation and lasting prosperity."
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.):
"Two years ago our economy was on the brink of disaster and Democrats joined the President in making sure we didn't fall off a cliff. Tonight, the President laid out his vision to keep this economy growing. With the 2010 elections, Republicans earned the responsibility of governing and voters will be looking to see if they prefer political theater over solving problems. We hope that the successes from the lame duck session - where Republicans and Democrats worked together to solve problems - is a model for the next two years. Our country faces enormous challenges and Republicans who choose obstruction for the sake of political gamesmanship will be held accountable. Voters are not interested in grandstanding - they want solutions like the ones we heard from the President tonight."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
"Tonight President Obama highlighted the urgent need to revitalize our economy, create jobs, build a world-class infrastructure system, and strengthen America's competitiveness in his State of the Union address. America must move swiftly to create millions of jobs, unshackle entrepreneurs and small businesses, and restore America's economic leadership around the globe--or we will be left behind.
"While there will be differences on how to achieve these goals, we must find enough common ground to ensure America's greatness into the 21st century. Our country and our economy will succeed only when the administration, Congress, the business community, and active citizens work together. The U.S. Chamber will work with anyone who shares our goals and we don't care who gets the credit."
A. Barry Rand, the C.E.O. of AARP:
"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, like his fiscal commission did last late last year, seeks to address this bedrock of financial security in the context of reducing a deficit it didn't cause.
"Moreover, any attempt to control spending in Medicare and Medicaid without addressing the causes of skyrocketing costs throughout the health care system will not reduce these costs, but rather shift them on to the backs of people of all ages and generations.
"While efforts to reduce the deficit are important, we will continue to speak out against any plan offered by the administration or Congress that would target these critical safety nets for changes based on budgetary targets instead of their impact on the lives of everyday Americans."
Investment banker and deficit hawk Pete Peterson:
"In his speech this evening, President Obama rightly addressed the need to achieve economic stability and promote growth. While it is certainly important for the President to focus on economic recovery and job creation in the short term, reducing our projected federal debt is essential to the nation's economic health and prosperity in the long term.
"A spending freeze is a step in the right direction, but it is only one element of the long-term fiscal plan we need.
"As we work to strengthen our economy today, we cannot afford to turn our backs on the future. We must couple current efforts to stimulate the economy with a long-term plan that reduces the ballooning interest costs which buy us nothing and crowd out deeply needed investments. We cannot become more of an investment economy if we don't have future resources to invest.
"A variety of organizations, including the President's Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, are coming forward with pragmatic solutions to our long-term fiscal challenges. The magnitude of the problem is so great that spending cuts or revenue increases alone will not be enough. This year, the President and Congress must work together to agree upon a comprehensive, bipartisan plan to be implemented when the economy recovers, in order put our nation on a sustainable long-term path to recovery, competitiveness and prosperity."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
"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. To get there, we'll have to set aside our differences and reach across the aisle.
"Republicans have a responsibility to work with us to create jobs instead of wasting time with pointless political stunts. Republicans should join us in looking to the future instead of refighting old battles and pressing extreme, ideological plans to end Social Security and Medicare. I hope they will join us in finding common-sense solutions to the challenges we face as a nation - to rebuild our economy today, create the jobs of the future.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)
"Tonight's speech should have been called a State of the Stimulus, and the President should have admitted that it failed. Two years after the President's nearly trillion dollar government stimulus, unemployment has increased and remains high, families and businesses are still struggling, and our national debt continues to skyrocket."
"When the President says 'investment' he means bigger federal government and higher taxes. Americans sent a clear message in the 2010 elections. They no longer wish to 'invest' in President Obama's big-spending plans." [...]
"If President Obama is serious about fixing our nation's fiscal problems and his call for bipartisanship, he should start by joining Republicans in repealing the partisan ObamaCare law. This government takeover of health care is a threat to our economy and to our nation's health."
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
"After presiding over a staggering 21 percent spending increase during his first two years in office, the President's proposal to simply keep spending at its current level for the next five years is too little, too late. In just two years, the government has grown at 10 times the rate of inflation.
"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. With a $14 trillion national debt that is growing at a trillion dollars every year, we should reverse the out of control spending we've witnessed the past two years and begin to save taxpayer dollars."
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R):
"Tonight, we heard President Obama describe this moment in America as a "Sputnik moment." But to face the challenges of our day, we don't need decades-old history lessons, we need leadership. We need elected officials who will take on special interests, make tough choices and focus on the right priorities. We need fiscal conservatives who recognize the solution to every problem is not a new government program. We need to take less money out of the pockets of Americans, and we need to get government out of the way of those who create jobs. Innovation comes from creating an environment where Americans want to build new companies. Government seldom does a good job of selecting successful innovators."
By Rachel Weiner, THE WASHINGTON POST