on January 29, 2010 by in Uncategorized, Comments (2)

Local reaction to State of Union address

The Journal

CLEMSON — Following Wednesday night’s State of the Union address given by President Barack Obama, local legislators, experts and citizens are speaking out.

With points aiming at tax cuts, unemployment, alternative energy and frozen spending, opinions on how Obama did were split across the board.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, applauded Obama’s willingness for job creation in the alternative energy sector.

“I believe energy independence is one of the defining issues of our time,” Graham said. “Last year we spent nearly $400 billion on foreign oil and now find ourselves more dependent on overseas supplies than at any other time in our nation’s history. Sometimes our money even goes to fund enemies bent on our destruction. I will continue working with the Obama Administration and my colleagues in the Senate to create an energy independent nation.”

But political scientist Dave Woodard at Clemson University said his speech wasn’t necessarily up to par with what we are used to hearing from Obama.

“Obama is an exceptionally good speaker, but his speech last night was not up to what we are used to hearing from him,” Woodard said. “It was more a laundry list of suggestions, without any comprehensive theme. The Gallup poll shows that Obama fell more in the first year of his presidency than any president they have on record. He had to do something to stop the bleeding; he tried last night. We will see how well he did in the next few months.”

Matt Henry, employee at BMW, said he felt a bit re-energized after Obama’s speech.

“We are falling as a nation, and falling fast,” he said. “Obama wants to move past this health care and refocus on the unemployed. I feel like he’s starting to finally do that. And his ideas for tax credits sound just fine to me. We have to unite and we have to move forward and help those who are struggling.”

But Woodard said the talk of tax credits is just that — talk.

“The reason Republicans sat on their hands last night when the president outlined a new policy on tax cuts, is that they think the proposals are too little, too late,” he said. “The tax cuts are symbolic more than anything else. Obama is not trying to be bipartisan; he doesn’t have to be. He has huge majorities in both houses. He doesn’t really care about tax cuts, and everyone knows it.”

U.S. Senator Jim DeMint had mixed reactions as well.

“Tonight, the president took one step forward and two steps back. I applaud him for recognizing the most pressing domestic problems are rising unemployment and debt. However, instead of stopping his big government agenda, he’s decided to dig in his heels and went even further with new spending and tax plans. The president announced a small step forward to freeze spending, but we will never stop the out of control debt unless we make serious spending cuts,” he added.

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