WASHINGTON – Republicans said President Obama’s State of the Union address was heavy with “false promises” and short on a commitment to cut spending. But initial reaction largely avoided the most emotionally-charged issue in the speech: gun violence.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the third-ranking Republican in the House, said Obama “failed the most basic test of leadership” – to “inspire good people from different backgrounds and with different agendas to come together to solve big problems.”
“I hoped that the president would seize on this opportunity to build on his historic election and to broaden his governing coalition,” he said. But instead, “the president told Americans that only his ideas matter, only his way is acceptable and only people that voted for him should have a voice in solving our nation's problems.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the president’s chief antagonist in the Senate, described as “absolute nonsense” the notion that Republicans were to blame for gridlock in Washington.
“I happen to be one of those who thinks divided government is the ideal time to solve our nation’s problems,” the Kentucky senator said in a statement. “For whatever reason, the president doesn’t agree with that. He seems to want everybody to think that Republicans are all up here with their daggers drawn all the time.”
Americans “aren’t interested in false promises,” he added, saying that Obama missed an opportunity to lay out a “serious economic plan.”
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, the House Republican Conference chairwoman, said Obama showed he was “out of touch with the majority of hardworking Americans by not proposing a credible plan to control Washington spending and reduce our debt,” and also criticized him for not outlining a plan to avert the so-called sequester cuts.
The office of House Speaker John A. Boehner provided a running fact check of the president’s remarks as he delivered them, on issues like energy and deficit reduction.
“After four years of 'stimulus'-style spending and trillion-dollar deficits, every American now owes more than $52,000 on our $16-trillion (and growing) national debt. We need serious spending cuts and reforms,” one stated.