Potential Republican presidential contenders denounced President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address while touting the fact that the United States is in desperate need of Republican leadership.
The race for the White House in 2016 was clearly off and running as Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, and a host of other hopefuls, promoted their own possible candidacy as they attacked Obama’s plan to tax the rich to help the middle class while threatening to veto GOP legislation.
Bush, a former Florida governor and a leading GOP contender in the polls along with Romney, said that Obama’s tax proposals were divisive, while also noting that although the slow economic recovery has helped some Americans, millions of people are still struggling.
"We need to create economic opportunity for every American, especially middle class families and those trying to rise out of poverty," Bush said in a Facebook post, according to The Hill
"While the sluggish recovery has been good for some, far too many people have been left behind. It's unfortunate President Obama wants to use the tax code to divide us — instead of proposing reforms to create economic opportunity for every American. We can do better."
On his Facebook page, Romney pointed out that Obama had dismissed the fact that voters showed they didn’t want more taxes by electing a GOP-controlled Senate and House in the November elections, according to CNN
"He ignores the fact that the country has elected a Congress that favors smaller government and lower taxes," the 2012 GOP presidential nominee wrote. "His tax proposal is a maze of new taxes and complexities."
The former Massachusetts governor added, "The best way to lower the tax burden on all American families is straightforward: lower rates and simplify the tax code."
In a 12-minute YouTube video countering Obama’s speech, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said, "I wish I had better news for you, but all is not well for America. America is adrift. Something is clearly wrong. America needs many things, but what America desperately needs is new leadership."
In the video, Paul appeared to be positioning himself for a possible run in 2016 by focusing his comments on income inequality and helping people out of poverty by ways other than taxing the wealthy, according to The Hill.
Paul also mocked Obama’s plans on Twitter as the president spoke, with one message saying, "If you like your college savings plan, you can keep it. But I'm gonna tax the hell out of it."
Another tweet derided Obama’s plan to help students attend community college for free. "Middle class economics? Wonder if you'll learn about that in free community college," he wrote.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker slammed Obama's "top-down, government-knows-best philosophy," while comparing the deadlock in D.C. with what he and other Republican governors have achieved at state level.
"While Washington stands at an impasse, Americans are increasingly turning to state leaders for answers because we are pushing big, bold reforms,” Walker said in a statement.
"Our American revival is not going to be led by a lame-duck president who would rather pick fights with Congress. It will be led by reformers who know how to get things done."
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio agreed with the president that the middle class is struggling under the weight of stagnant wages and the rising cost of living. But he says the Democratic policies are adding to the problems, and that Obama "doubles down on outdated proposals to tax and spend more."
"I think he's exactly right when he says one of the fundamental challenges of our time is this disconnect of middle-class life in comparison to what it was in our country a decade or two decades ago,” Rubio said in a statement.
“And there's this disconnect — people are being squeezed between the higher cost of living and paychecks that aren't keeping pace. The problem is that I think our ideas to solve them are better."
Appearing on CNN’s "Hambycast," Rubio said, "The single greatest impediment to community colleges today are not costs, it's the fact that at the end of that community college tunnel is that graduates don't see jobs."
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said in a statement that America saw "a powerful demonstration that it’s time to move beyond” Obama, CNN reported.
And he added that the "bold leadership" of the Republican Party aims to "bring back jobs, to bring back economic growth, to bring back opportunity, to rekindle the miracle of America."
According to The Hill, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is also a possible White House candidate, said in a brief statement on Facebook, "Like everything with Obama, tonight's speech was all hat, no cattle."
And former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, another potential 2016 hopeful, also attacked Obama’s $320 billion tax plan
, saying the president was creating "class warfare."
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