11:47 - Source: CNN
Gov. Mitch Daniels gives GOP response

Story highlights

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels gives GOP response to State of the Union speech

He calls for a nation of "haves and soon to haves"

Former candidate Herman Cain speaks on behalf of Tea Party Express

Herman Cain: U.S. needs "energy independence strategy"

CNN —  

Republicans said Tuesday night that President Barack Obama’s “trickle-down government” has held back, rather than speeded up, economic recovery.

“When President Obama claims that the state of our union is anything but grave, he must know in his heart that this is not true,” said Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels – citing high debt and unemployment above 8% – in the official GOP response to the State of the Union address.

“He (Obama) seems to sincerely believe we can build a middle class out of government jobs paid for with borrowed dollars,” said Daniels. “In fact, it works the other way: a government as big and bossy as this one is maintained on the backs of the middle class, and those who hope to join it.”

Obama defended Wall Street reform, health-care reform and government stimulus spending in his speech Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress. He also proposed new corporate tax breaks.

Defiant Obama challenges Congress on sticky issues

“He said some wonderful things, and I’d love to cheer for all of them, but what he says doesn’t match up with what he’s been doing for the last three years,” Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, told CNN. He cited the president’s health-care legislation and the Dodd-Frank financial reform law as examples.

On income taxes, the president repeated his longstanding call for the wealthy to pay more in taxes, including a specific proposal for millionaires to have a tax rate of 30%.

Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, speaking on behalf of Tea Party Express, repeated conservatives’ labeling of Obama as engaging in a form of class warfare.

The sentiment was echoed by Daniels.

“No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others,” Daniels said. “As in previous moments of national danger, we Americans are all in the same boat. If we drift, quarreling and paralyzed, over a Niagara of debt, we will all suffer, regardless of income, race, gender or other category.”

Republicans in Congress, Daniels said, “alone have passed bills to reduce borrowing, reform entitlements and encourage new job creation, only to be shot down time and time again by the president and his Democratic Senate allies.” He called for a “dramatically” simpler tax system with fewer loopholes and lower rates.

iReport: Obama is “master storyteller”

Republicans argue that Obama’s policies have stymied growth by increasing regulations and delaying opportunities such as the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to appease some of his liberal support base.

“The extremism that stifles the development of homegrown energy, or cancels a perfectly safe pipeline that would employ tens of thousands, or jacks up consumer utility bills for no improvement in either human health or world temperature, is a pro-poverty policy,” Daniels said.

In response to Republican criticism of his energy policy, Obama said to applause he was ordering his administration to open up 75% of potential offshore oil and gas resources.

Cain said gasoline prices have skyrocketed since Obama took office.

“We do not have a cohesive, common-sense energy independence strategy,” said Cain.

Daniels talked about the need for current and future workers to have steady employment.

“As Republicans, our first concern is for those waiting tonight to begin or resume the climb up life’s ladder,” Daniels said. “We do not accept that ours will ever be a nation of haves and have nots; we must always be a nation of haves and soon to haves.