The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Obama draws new round of GOP animosity with ‘I won both of them’ line

Updated at 12:43 p.m

President Obama's not-so-subtle reminder in his State of the Union address that he won both of his elections for president earned him a fresh round of animosity from congressional Republicans, and threatened to exacerbate an already tense relationship.

Obama's line, which quickly became the most talked-about part of his speech, isn't going to do him any favors in the the GOP-controlled Congress, Republican lawmakers said.

"Yeah, but who won the last election?" responded Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), when asked about it. "You can't take politics out of a politician even if he doesn't have any more elections in front of him."

Cole called Obama an "extremely gifted" politician, but added: "If he wants to get things done, maybe a little more humility and a little more outreach, a little less provocation."

Sen. Lisa Murkoswki (R-Alaska) said Obama sent mixed messages in his speech.

"It's one thing to say, 'I want to work with you.' And it's another thing to say, 'but on my terms, because if you don't do it my way, I'm going to veto it,'" said Murkowski. "Well, that doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy about working with you."

Cornell William Brooks, the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, saw no problem with Obama's choice of words.

"He has won two elections, he said. "Republicans just won the last set of elections. But what's key here is that most people in the country place a great deal more stock and confidence in his platform. So they may have won the election, but he's winning on the issues."

"I have no more campaigns to run," Obama said in his speech, prompting mock applause from some Republicans in the chamber. Then, he added: "I know because I won both of them," words that did not appear in his prepared remarks.

Texas's two Republican senators said they took issue with the overall tone of Obama's speech.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Senate Republican, said it was "probably more suited for his first State of the Union," adding, "you have to suspend your disbelief, based on the facts, to believe everything he said."

Sen. Ted Cruz, a potential presidential candidate, said, "Indeed there was some irony as he had rhetoric for unity while repeatedly attacking the United States Congress. That is not a recipe for working together."