Obama’s State of the Union: The reaction

February 12, 2013

Reactions to President Obama’s State of the Union speech came swiftly and, predictably, fell mainly along party lines, with Democrats praising the president’s message and Republicans attacking the agenda he unveiled over the course of an hour on Tuesday night.

Here’s a sampling of reaction figures in both parties offered up via Twitter, video and emailed statements:

Republicans:

* Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the speech a “missed opportunity” that was “combative”:

* Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was quick to criticize of Obama on the issue of taxes:

* Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) echoed McConnell, saying Obama's speech “missed an opportunity”:

* Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) called Obama’s gun control agenda “a disaster.” The Republican went on to say: “As Congress contemplates new legislation, I will oppose anything that further restricts the Second Amendment or its contribution to the free exercise of all our constitutional rights.”

* Matt Kibbe, the president of the tea party group FreedomWorks, said that as he listened to the president speak, he “wondered if we were discussing the same Union. Has he read our government's balance sheet? Has he noticed the Great Recession he resides over? It’s clear the President is still in campaign mode, talking a lot, but saying very little.”

* House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) said “instead of focusing on the ingenuity and greatness of the American people, the president repeated the same broken promises that have kept unemployment hovering around 8 percent and hampered economic growth.”

Democrats:

* House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised the president's gun control remarks:

* Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) said Obama “laid out his vision for a safer, more inclusive and more prosperous America. House Democrats are united in our commitment to create jobs by growing the middle class, to fix our broken immigration system and to protect our kids by reducing gun violence."

* Democratic Governors Association Chairman Peter Shumlin said that “In his State of the Union address tonight, President Obama laid out a bold, comprehensive plan to continue creating jobs and expanding opportunity for middle-class Americans.”

* Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he was “gratified that President Obama confronted the danger of self-inflicted economic wounds like sequestration head on tonight.”

* Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) appreciated the president’s attention to jobs:

* Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) singled out for praise Obama’s call to raise the minimum wage:

 

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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