barack-obama-2016-sotu

President Barack Obama gave his final State of the Union (SOTU) address on Tuesday night before a joint session of Congress.  Below is some reaction from Republican leaders and candidates.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA):

First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with the U.S. Navy sailors in Iranian custody. While I am disappointed the President did not provide an update tonight, I am hopeful they will be safely released immediately.

Furthermore, unfortunately President Obama’s speech tonight failed to address the troubling reality our country finds itself in near the end of his presidency. While an overwhelming majority of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track, the President doubled-down on his failed policies of the past from ObamaCare to more burdensome regulations, to restricting law-abiding Iowans’ Second Amendment rights.

Although national security is a top concern for many folks across the country, our Commander in Chief yet again ignored an opportunity to outline a comprehensive strategy to destroy ISIS and fight terror at home and abroad.

As someone who served our nation at war, I believe President Obama owes it to the American people to be honest about the efforts necessary to defeat ISIS, and to match that honest assessment with a real strategy to accomplish the goal.

We must preserve the safety and security of the American people, which is why I will continue to urge President Obama to fully engage, defeat, and destroy ISIS wherever they are.

It is completely unacceptable that the President failed to present serious solutions to grow our economy and ensure that America remains a strong force around the globe. Americans deserve better.

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA):

The way the President has down-played the terrorist threat has been alarming.  The American people have the right to expect that the U.S. government will fulfill its number one responsibility of protecting the homeland.   ISIS and its counterparts are a growing threat to our country that cannot be cast aside.  Throughout our history, the United States was respected by our friends and feared by our enemies.  Increasingly, neither seems to be the case.  The President needs to focus on the safety of Americans and see the world the way it is, rather than the way he wishes it was.  

On the economy, the President offered soaring prose that sounds good but offers little in terms of real solutions.  I’d rather have heard more on ways we can work together to increase middle class wages and grow the economy.  We’ve had low gains in productivity that have led to stagnant wages.  We have rising health care costs.   We have a lot of people out of the workforce.  I’m looking for specific ideas to increase job creation.  What I hear from the other side of the aisle is more regulations and higher taxes.  More regulations are counter-productive to economic growth.  The Administration’s Waters of the U.S. regulation is a perfect example.  Red tape from this regulation would require permits for any changes to the land in 97 percent of Iowa.  That’s an astounding power grab. 

 The marketplace, entrepreneurship and the American work ethic have made this country so successful.  The Administration’s rhetoric on economic growth is at cross purposes with the regulations coming out of the executive branch.  Also, rhetoric on working together rings hollow when the White House has used so much executive overreach on significant issues that bypasses the legislative branch and its elected representatives.  The short-term partisan interests of the White House should not trump the constitutional principles laid out by the founding fathers.     

The Republican-led Congress will continue to fight for the economic growth that made America the envy of the world and will work to keep our country strong in the face of increasing dangers from those who want to destroy our way of life.

RNC Chair Reince Priebus:

After seven years under President Obama, America has become less prosperous, less safe, and less free. Americans are reminded daily of this president’s failures and broken promises, whether it’s higher costs under ObamaCare, the continued decline of the middle class, or the increased threat posed by ISIS and radical Islamic terrorists. It’s no wonder the American people overwhelmingly say the country is on the wrong track and want to see their next president take a different direction. But rather than signal a much-needed course correction, the president took a lonely victory lap before a country that is ready to turn the page.

The one thing the president made clear tonight is that the next ten months will be all about ensuring he is succeeded by Hillary Clinton, who gives his failed presidency an ‘A’ grade and wants to take his divisive, left-wing agenda to the next level. More taxes, more spending, more leading from behind, more Washington overreach, and more scandal – that is what Democrats are offering in this election. It’s clearer than ever that only a Republican president can tackle the big issues facing our country and restore faith in our government.  

President Obama was elected to the White House with voters demanding change, and fittingly, that is how he will leave.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX):

The President continues to be in denial of reality. He would have us believe that global warming is our greatest threat, our military is as strong as it can be, the economy is working for American families, and that the key to alleviating poverty is more government dependence.   

The reality is very different. We have had at least eight ISIS inspired attacks on innocent Americans, including law enforcement, yet he refuses to acknowledge the root of the cause of these attacks, radical Islamic terrorism. Our military needs greater support and the economy only works for those in Washington.

The President gives lip service to “We the People” yet has rejected the entire idea of a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” He has issued endless executive orders, ignoring longstanding principles of separation of powers and constitutional limits on his own power.  

He lectures us on civility yet has been one of the most divisive presidents in American history. He has tried to divide us by race, class, and gender, and our beliefs. He railed tonight against “rancor” yet has done little to lead or to bring people together. While he suggested that political differences at home may be the most significant concern, he neglected the 10 American sailors who have been taken hostage by Iran today. Instead, he praised the Iran deal and no less than three times professed the threat of climate change. 

Obama’s final State of the Union address marks the end of eight years of lost potential for America. We have lost opportunities for economic growth and expanding freedom. It’s a sad chapter in American history that will fortunately soon come to a close. And it’s a signal that Americans are ready to stand together to elect a leader who will bring back jobs and growth, champion every citizens’ God-given liberties, and restore our security and our leadership in the world. 

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee:

Obama’s endless excuses are out-of-control and Americans have had enough. He pats himself on the back for giving us an Affordable Care Act no one can afford. He glows and grins about an economy that’s punching millions of Americans in the gut. And he refuses to accept an ounce of responsibility for his epic foreign policy disasters. Set aside our Union, Obama’s mind is in a state of confusion, delusion and decay.

It’s time we stop bankrupting Social Security, Medicare and our children’s future and start acting like the United States. It’s time we quit making excuses for radical Islam, attacking Christians and apologizing for being Americans. I’m running for President to burn down the corrupt Washington political machine and put Americans first.

Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann:

It’s more clear than ever that we need new leadership in the White House. President Obama promised to bridge the divide between red and blue America, but instead it’s worse than ever. In just a few weeks, Iowans will cast the first votes as the country begins to turn the page on the President’s failed tenure.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush responded on Twitter:

He also remarked on President Obama’s SOTU address during an event in Iowa:

U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) recorded a video response:

The transcript of his statement is below:

Tonight, we heard the President tell us the state of the union, and what we saw was a leader with a record of failure in search of any meaningful, positive legacy. 

The state of the union affirms one thing – we’re ready for a new President.  Here are some things you did not hear from the President tonight. 

Under this president, our national debt has nearly doubled. The next president must be someone with a balanced budget plan, to end massive spending and deficits. 

Under this President, we were promised an end to two wars that were past their time and mission… but instead, our soldiers continue to risk their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

In fact, President Obama and Hillary Clinton took us to war in Libya and Syria without Constitutional authority. 

The next President will have the daunting task of rebuilding an overextended military, while ensuring that we are capable and prepared to defend ourselves.

If we continue to engage in nation-building and policing the world, we won’t have the resources to maintain our own national defense.

This President pledged to take over our healthcare system – and he did. 

Costs are rising, doctors are leaving their practices, and insurance companies are leaving the exchanges. Obamacare has failed.

The next president will have to repeal Obamacare and make health insurance affordable again. 

The current President pledged to raise taxes and add regulations to job creators. He’s done that too. Some estimate that his policies cost our economy two trillion dollars every year in regulations. 

Our next President must focus on restoring lost jobs through tax cuts, regulatory reforms, and more freedom in the market place. 

It has also been too long since our Union saw a President who fought for the entire Bill of Rights. 

The current President ran as a champion of civil liberties, railing against the constitutional violations of the previous administration. In this he has utterly failed. 

He has continued and expanded the surveillance state, he has presided over a continued militarization of our police forces, and has signed laws including the indefinite detention of American citizens.

In the wake of terrorist attacks, Democrats cry out for more gun control, and some Republicans call for more people control. 

As President, I will fight for the entire Bill of Rights.

These challenges and more await the next President. This is why I am running.  

No other candidate running will address each of these problems with freedom-based solutions.

Others claim to be fiscal conservatives, but they don’t have a balanced budget plan, and refuse to cut spending across the board.

Make no mistake, if we continue the unholy alliance between the left and right on spending, we will be bankrupt sooner rather than later.

The left wants more welfare….while the right wants more military spending.  Both have gotten what they want for too long, leaving us less safe and more in debt. 

The next President must also take on the power of Washington, something this President has failed to do. 

The first reform needed is Term Limits. We have them for the President, but we should also have them for Congress. Being in Washington for 30 or 40 years should not be an option, or a goal.

Next, I would repeal the entire tax code, and replace it with a flat tax that empowers American workers and business owners to make the most out of their lives. 

If we want to get money out of politics then we need to get politics out of the peoples’ money. We should devalue politicians in Washington by stripping them of power and returning it to local government.

We also need to Audit the Fed and rein in the out-of-control money printing, manipulation, and bank bailouts.  

Today we had the first-ever vote on Audit the Fed in the Senate, a bill I introduced. We don’t have a President to sign it yet, but we must make sure that by the next State of the Union we do. 

The next President must be serious about our national security, and that starts with defending our border.  

Anyone who wishes to visit, study, or immigrate to the U.S. must be sufficiently vetted and scrutinized. 

We also need a president who understands the Constitution and will appoint judges who will reverse years of bad decisions that have undermined our freedom.

Finally, we need someone who will work across the aisle on all issues. On criminal justice reform, I have reached out to the President to work on sentencing reform, ending mandatory minimums, and ending the War on Drugs.  

On day one, our next President must be prepared to protect the Constitution, embrace the entire Bill of Rights and get the government out of the way so Americans can once again prosper.

I will be that president. 

Thank you, and God Bless America. 

Ohio Governor John Kasich:

Eight years from now I look forward to giving a State of the Union that describes a stronger, safer and more united America.  We’re going to cut taxes, balance the budget and get government out of the way so every American can rise.  We’re also going to strengthen our military and renew our alliances to proclaim the values of the civilized world and stand up to extremists and bullies.  On-the-job training in this presidency has marched us down a trail of failure and left America weaker, divided and adrift.  That’s going to end and by working together we’re going to fight, win and succeed.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina:

Tonight, President Obama once again proved that he is a politician, not a leader. Instead of talking about solutions, he talked politics. 

Despite his rhetoric, Americans know that our economy is lagging, our leadership in the world is waning, and the very character of our nation is threatened. 

This administration has continued to grow a bloated, corrupt government that serves only the powerful, the wealthy, and the well-connected. President Obama talked about wanting to end crony capitalism–but then proposed doubling down on the same policies that have enabled this corruption and ineptitude. 

We cannot elect Hillary Clinton to the White House. She has promised throughout her campaign to extend and expand Barack Obama’s failed policies. And, like this President, she has always put politics ahead of problem-solving. She lacks a track record of leadership and accomplishment. She has lied. It is the Clinton way.   

We need a nominee who can beat Hillary and who will finally hold her accountable. One thing is clear: Hillary Clinton will wipe the floor with Donald Trump.

I can beat Hillary Clinton and I will. I will force her to fight on her record—on her lies and lack of trustworthiness, whether that’s about emails and servers or Benghazi. 

It is time to elect a leader who has been tested, who will see and speak and act on the truth. We need a President who will be a clear-eyed advocate for policies formed by principles, not by polls and politics.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) talked with Megyn Kelly after the SOTU address:

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) did not give a direct response to the SOTU address, but talked about the state of the union with Iowans at a house party on Tuesday evening:

Dr. Ben Carson had a series of tweets during the SOTU address:

Real estate magnate and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gave his reaction to the SOTU address on Twitter:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shared his reaction on Fox and Friends this morning. Full interview here.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley gave the official Republican response:

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