After President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, it didn't take long for candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination to sound off on the speech.
The message conveyed in Obama's remarks is one he can be expected to reinforce in the months ahead on the campaign trail.
Below, a slideshow of what Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul had to say about this year's State of the Union speech.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich released the following statement on Obama's address. We have a crisis of work in this country and tonight President Obama proposed nothing in the way of policy changes that will get us to robust job creation and dramatic economic growth. Instead, the president described his conviction that his big government is built to last and should be paid for with higher taxes. But bigger government and higher taxes will not lead to jobs and growth. Bigger government and higher taxes will instead lead to more people on food stamps, a situation which the President and his party defend as a fair outcome. Here we have to confront the truth about President Obama. Economic growth and prosperity is not really at the top of his agenda. He will always prefer a food stamp economy to a paycheck economy and call it fair. For the president and a large part of the political class, it's about their power, their right to rule. They just want to take money from Joe the Plumber - the small business people who makes over 90 per cent of the new jobs -- and redistribute it to the government bureaucracy and their political friends and allies. That's why so much of that nearly trillion-dollar stimulus didn't create jobs but just went into the pockets of special interests who support President Obama and the leadership of the Democratic Party. No better example of this exists than in the crisis of American energy. President Obama and his political allies - not of few of whom love living in energy inefficient houses or driving gas-guzzling luxury vehicles - openly admit they want gas prices to remain high so that the rest of America will learn to live more modestly. They think it's good for rest of us. Only recently, the president canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline that would have created countless new jobs and helped America on the way to energy independence because he wanted to appease the far left of his party. And yet not a single word on the Keystone XL pipeline tonight. To create jobs and growth in this country, we must start with dramatic tax reform that lowers taxes and maximizes capital investment and job creation. We must return to a dollar as good as gold whose purchasing power is the same in thirty years as it is today. We must dramatically expand American energy production. We must have smarter regulation at the same time we abolish destructive and costly regulatory systems beginning with Obamacare,Dodd-Franks, and Sarbanes-Oxley. And finally, unlike the current administration, we must have faith in job creators. With these policies the state of the union will be much better. They will create an explosion in job creation and lead to robust economic growth and a return to prosperity. Furthermore, a paycheck economy will put us on a path to balanced budgets and paying down our national debt.
Mitt Romney gave his reaction to Obama's State of the Union address on NBC Tuesday night. Romney told Brian Williams Obama had "basically adopted a lot of thoughts that we've had on the campaign trail." He also touched on his time campaigning in Florida, noting that "the idea that we are on the right track is something very foreign to people here." Romney used the opportunity to explain that he feels capital gains taxes should be low to "encourage people to build new enterprises." "If you raise the capital gains tax rate, there will be less money going into creating jobs," Romney said. Romney also appeared on Fox News Tuesday night to discuss how he believes Obama views Americans. "I just dont think he understands what's happening in American homes," Romney said. "I just sat down with a group of Floridians... they're not feeling like the policies of this president have made things better." Romney said there was "no question" that Obama hasn't improved the country during his presidency. "This is a president with a gap between what he says and what he does so enormous, sometimes you just... shake your head in amazement." Romney questioned what Obama did during the first two years of his presidency, when he had "all that power" of a Democratic majority in the House and Senate. -- Paige Lavender
Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum issued the following statement on the president's speech: "Tonight Barack Obama transformed the President's annual State of the Union address into the kick-off of his re-election campaign. From beginning to end, the American people heard more of the same - empty promises and grand platitudes that will do nothing to help the millions of Americans who are unemployed or under employed find a good paying job. Rather than call for decisive action in allowing projects like the Keystone Pipeline or reducing the regulatory burden his Administration has imposed, the President declared war on those who are most successful in our society. Barack Obama should realize he's the President of all Americans, but sadly, he has instead chosen to govern and campaign as the Divider-in-Chief. We need to unite America and create an environment that rewards hard work and success, allowing people the opportunity to rise in society. We need a President who will rebuild the sector that built American economic greatness - manufacturing. My plan is diametrically opposed to that of the President's. Barack Obama speaks of raising taxes and imposing barriers to growth, my plan would eliminate the corporate taxes on manufacturers, eliminate the burdensome regulations of this Administration, and free our market to explore for the energy necessary to grow our economy. Our Party needs to provide a clear contrast with Barack Obama in the general election. Our campaign does just that by focusing a positive message of a resurgent American manufacturing sector, an Administration that will believe in American exceptionalism again, and valuing the dignity of each and every human life. America deserves better than what they heard from Barack Obama tonight. "
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul issued the following statement on Obama's speech: "Tonight, President Obama once again showed that he does not represent the fundamental change this country needs. Instead of offering solutions to the problems our country faces, the President was intent on delivering a campaign speech, further dealing in the typical Washington political gamesmanship that has gotten us exactly nowhere close to improving the lives of the American people. "In a speech where much of the rhetoric was devoted to job creation, it was strange that President Obama would brag about his job-destroying national health care plan, Obamacare, and the Dodd-Frank bill, which, contrary to the President's claims, guarantees future taxpayer bailouts of large institutions. Unfortunately, President Obama's 'job creation' policies amount to little more than continuing to allow government bureaucrats to pick winners and losers, which is a recipe for continued economic stagnation. "President Obama claims to want an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. Yet he remains committed to the same old system of debt, deficits, bailouts, and cronyism that created our economic problems. The President speaks of giving us energy independence from unstable nations, yet he refuses to allow the type of development needed to achieve this goal, while at the same time his administration hands out favors to the politically connected - those given to the likes of Solyndra, who fail to produce jobs or energy but succeed in ripping off the taxpayers. "Of course, President Obama refuses to even mention the role the Federal Reserve plays in creating an economic system where some are denied a fair shot or even to support my efforts at bringing transparency to the Federal Reserve. Also not mentioned by President Obama is the very crucial need for reining in spending and balancing the federal budget. What is called by some 'the greatest threat to our national security' seems not to be of great importance to this President, although I, like many Americans, believe it to be cause for immediate measures, like the $1 trillion in spending cuts that would take place in my first year as President under my Plan to Restore America. "In the area of foreign policy and civil liberties, President Obama's rhetoric may be different, but the substance of his polices - as shown by his administration's defense of the TSA's treatment of my son, Senator Rand Paul, is hardly 'change we can believe in.' No wonder more and more Americans, especially young people, are rejecting the phony alternatives of Obama and establishment Republicans and embracing my campaign to Restore America Now."
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