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GOP weekly address criticizes Obama prior to State of the Union Address

The Republican Party has decided three responses after President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address was not enough and thought it would best to give a "pre-emptive strike" and use the GOP weekly address released on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 to hit the President on all likely points to be included his State of the Union Address to be delivered on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri was chosen to give this week's all important pre-State of the Union Address, and he was definitely blunt in his assessment. The weekly address was also a preview of what elements will be featured in the official Republican response to the State of the Union.

President Barack Obama with Director of Speechwriting Cody Keenan consulting on a draft of the 2014 State of the Union Address, White House Oval Office, Jan. 24, 2014
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

The GOP Weekly address focused primarily the economy and job creation elements that will be heavily featured in President Obama' State of the Union next week. The Republicans reiterated their position and main theme for their official response, which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stated on Thursday, Jan. 23, will be "an alternative approach to the President's plans to grow an already enormous federal bureaucracy."

Sen. Blunt began his address introducing the President's planned theme and focus in his upcoming State of the Union Address; "According to recent reports, the President plans to use this speech as a kick off for his so-called 'year of action.' He intends to focus on income inequality leading up to the midterm elections this year."

The Missouri Senator made sure to hammer-in all that is wrong with the country emphasizing that it is because of the President's failed policies; "Well, the President's right about at least one thing. Americans are hurting. Too many of the poorest Americans continue to suffer from stalled job creation, skyrocketing federal debt, burdensome regulations, and broken promises on health care reform. What President Obama fails to acknowledge is that Americans are hurting as a result of his own policies."

After listing in more detail the problems the country faces under Obama's leadership, Sen. Blunt expressed that "When he delivers his State of the Union address this week, the President has a lot of explaining to do." Upping the stakes, Blunt challenged the President to do more than make more promises and demand more government problems to solve economic problems.

The GOP Weekly address referred to President Obama's theme of "economic inequality and mobility" focusing on closing the gap between the rich and poor and introduced in a December 2013 speech. The message has been called class warfare by the Republicans and Sen. Blunt highlighted this; "If all he has to offer is more of the same, or if he refuses to acknowledge that his own policies have failed to work -- the president is simply doing what many failed leaders have done before him: trying to set one group of Americans against another group of Americans. We don't need more class warfare, and we don't need more interference from Washington. No government program can replace what a good job means for the future of a family." Because of continued criticism, the White House ceased mentioning the gap, and instead will be calling the policy focus "economic opportunity," however; the basic tenants remain the same.

Blunt turned Obama's theme for his State of the Union Address "year of action" on him, saying that the GOP is also launching a "year of action." Blunt declared; "Republicans are ready to turn these policies around and launch a 'year of action' - starting with fixing our broken health care system." Blunt offered the GOP's solutions for health care, jobs creation, and energy production.

Sen. Blunt reminded President Obama and the American public of the "flawed" health care law, the Affordable Care Act rollout from this past October 2013, declaring that is still causing problems for Americans, problems which the President even acknowledged; "The administration has decided which parts of the law to follow and which parts to delay. The President himself was forced to take back his promise that people could keep their plan if they liked it."

For Blunt and the GOP and the bottom line about the health care law is "This isn't the result of some website glitch. It's a law that's fundamentally flawed. And it's hurting the very families who need affordable coverage and good-paying, full-time jobs the most." Instead, he offers the Republicans plan to improve health care, of course to be done by repealing Obamacare; "Let's work together to replace a plan that won't work with common-sense solutions. Solutions like buying insurance across state lines and fair tax treatment for every health care dollar."

The Republicans view government regulations as the main hindrance to jobs creation; "We can also help jump-start job creation for American workers by creating more economic certainty. No one wants to create a job or hire more people when they have needless uncertainties about what the future holds. That's why we need to eliminate confusing and inefficient government regulations."

The Republicans used the opportunity to urge President Obama to approve of the Keystone XL Pipeline, the construction of the oil pipeline from Canada down through Texas, which would create jobs, but faces stiff opposition from Democrats and environmentalists. Obama was suppose to render a decision by the end of 2013, but did not, with his commitment to climate change legislation and often using the derogatory "tar sands" rather "oil sands" in referring to the pipeline shows that the President has been leaning against approving the pipeline.

Sen. Blunt highlighted the job making ability of approving the Keystone Pipeline; "We can also create economic opportunities for American workers by supporting increased domestic energy production…. It's time for President Obama to approve truly shovel-ready projects like Keystone to encourage private sector job creation." President Obama has downplayed the job making ability of constructing the pipeline.

Reiterating, that it is not the President but "Republicans in Congress are ready for a 'year of action,' Sen. Blunt continued delineating the Republicans main economic focus is "Ready to enact a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda." Turning the tables around, Blunt placed the blame of legislation inaction on Congressional Democrats; "The House has already passed a number of bills aimed at jump-starting the economy - bills that are stalled in the Senate that's controlled by Democrats and Majority Leader Harry Reid."

Sen. Blunt responded directly to President Obama's weekly address on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 entitled "Making 2014 a Year of Action to Expand Opportunities for the Middle Class," Obama promised; "Where Congress isn't acting, I'll act on my own." Sen. Blunt commented that; "The President says he has a pen to sign executive orders and a phone to rally support. The Congress should insist that he find the Constitution and follow it."

Blunt instead asked that "President Obama can join us to grow the nation's economy and the nation's jobs. Or he can continue pushing for more regulations, more taxes, higher utility bills, and health care turmoil - bad policies that hurt poor Americans the most." Concluding; "Mr. President, let's use the 'year of action' to have a little less talk, and a lot more action."

The Republican Party's official response will be given by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, from Washington State who is also the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, the top ranking Republican woman in Congress. Additionally the Tea Party Express will have their own response, which be delivered by Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, while Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY will add a third to boost his profile and for good measure. President Obama will likely spend time in address criticizing and chastising the Republicans, and the party is making sure with their weekly address and three responses that the President gets back a little of his own medicine.


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