Divided GOP Split on State of Union

Establishment, Tea Party, libertarians all negative in different ways

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 25, 2012 3:46 AM CST

(Newser) – With the Republican Party so divided, it's no surprise that its response to President Obama's State of the Union address would also be divided, notes the Washington Post. In addition to an official response by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and a Tea Party response by Herman Cain, Mitt Romney and the other GOP candidates also weighed in:

  • Cain's rebuttal focused on familiar Tea Party complaints—"Obamacare," "class warfare," and the "liberal media." Cain also addressed old sexual harassment allegations against him, noting that the "false attacks" derailed his campaign, but that accusations against Newt Gingrich failed because "the American people are waking up to dirty, gutter politics,” he said. “The American voters are saying, ‘We ain’t stupid.’"

  • Romney focused on Obama's attempt to blame Congress for inaction, pointing out that for most of his presidency, Democrats controlled both houses. “But we shouldn’t forget that for two years, this president had a Congress that could do everything he wanted," said Romney. Romney also criticized the "Buffett rule" that would require millionaires to pay at least 30% in taxes: "We need to encourage people to invest," said Romney, who plans to pay half that rate on last year's income.
  • Over on the libertarian side, Ron Paul also attacked the president's speech, criticizing him for continuing the current system—and for not mentioning the evil Federal Reserve. "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," wrote Paul. "Yet he remains committed to the same old system of debt, deficits, bailouts, and cronyism that created our economic problems."
  • Gingrich released a statement responding to the State of the Union, insisting, "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. ... [Obama] will always prefer a food stamp economy to a paycheck economy and call it fair."
  • In Rick Santorum's response, he called Obama the "Divider-in-Chief" and said the address was simply "the kick-off of his reelection campaign."
Click for Daniels' official GOP response.

Harry Hall, a member of a group of Republicans known as the Randolph Area Pachyderms, pauses briefly to watch the State of the Union address Jan. 24, 2012, at Nelly's restaurant in Moberly, Mo.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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