Tags: State of the Union 2014 | US | Mike | Lee | Tea | Party | Speech

Utah Sen. Mike Lee Gives Tea Party SOTU Response

Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 11:42 PM


Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee was the face of the national tea party Tuesday night, delivering the movement's response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech.

Lee pinned the widening wealth gap on the president's policies and tout the ideas of a new generation of leaders including himself and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

Story continues below video.

"Americans know in their hearts that something is wrong. Much of what is wrong relates to the sense that the 'American Dream' is falling out of reach for far too many of us," Lee said in his prepared remarks. "We are facing an inequality crisis — one to which the president has paid lip service, but seems uninterested in truly confronting or correcting."

Obama plans to use the State of the Union to announce executive actions to raise the minimum wage for new federal contracts, help the long-term unemployed find work and expand job-training programs.

Lee, an attorney who is halfway through his first term, was chosen by Tea Party Express because he is a recognized leader who is popular among the GOP base because of the message he delivers about improving the economy and reducing the size, cost and intrusiveness of the federal government, said Sal Russo, co-founder of the organization. Tea Party Express is a national group representing the movement.

"People who have been willing to stand up and say, 'Stop,' like Mike Lee, have drawn a great deal of support," Russo said.

In previous years, the speech has been delivered by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; former presidential candidate Herman Cain; and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Quin Monson, director of Brigham Young University's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, said the spotlight will help Lee develop his brand with tea party supporters. But aligning so closely with the tea party could also put Lee at risk in future elections, Monson said, especially if Utah voters choose to use direct primaries in future elections instead of party caucuses and conventions.

A group pushing for that change hopes to get the issue on the ballot in November. Lee unseated incumbent Bob Bennett during the tea party wave of 2010 when delegates at the Utah GOP convention decided Bennett was not conservative enough to continue representing Utah.

"If he gets challenged in a primary by somebody who is moderate, this kind of speech could backfire," Monson said. "If he wanted to be risk averse, he probably would have sat it out, ... but that hasn't been his style so far."

Lee came under heat after joining Cruz last fall in leading the fight that led to the 16-day partial government shutdown. Senate Republicans publicly slammed both for using a tactic that has taken a heavy toll on the GOP's standing.

But the defiance was wildly cheered by outside conservative groups that used the months-long dispute to rally supporters and drive fundraising money to their political action groups. The far-right flank also hailed Cruz and Lee for what they call a principled, courageous stand.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Kerik, Harvey: Obama 'In Denial' on Iran, Taliban, Islamic Terror

Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 10:27 AM

The Obama administration refuses "to define the (Islamic terror) threat and importantly, it seems that they don't unders . . .

Lynch Pledges Independence If Confirmed as Attorney General

Wednesday, 28 Jan 2015 10:56 AM

Under pressure from Republicans, Loretta Lynch promised a fresh relationship with law enforcement and with Congress on W . . .

Koch Brothers Budget $889 Million for 2016

Monday, 26 Jan 2015 16:27 PM

Freedom Partners, the political operation run by the Koch brothers, has budgeted $889 million for its political activiti . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved