One week before President Obama delivers the State of the Union, several prospective Republican presidential candidates gave State of the State addresses Tuesday "that looked a lot like auditions for a joint session of Congress," according to Politico.
Three who delivered addresses —
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence —
outlined some of their signature proposals and called for reforms that would limit the growth of government.
Christie called for mandatory treatment programs for drug offenders, while criticizing "long-term entitlements which grow faster than the economy." In that regard "our problem here in New Jersey is not that different from Washington's entitlement problem," he said.
Walker proposed merging several state agencies to avoid duplication and declared that as a result of reforms he pushed through, Wisconsin's state pension system "is the only one fully funded in the country."
Pence called for a balanced budget amendment to the Indiana Constitution that voters would ratify in a state referendum.
All three governors managed to integrate global themes into their speeches, with Pence denouncing the beheading of Indiana native Peter Kassig by jihadists and Walker decrying the murder of innocents in Paris by "cowards who are overwhelmed by fear."
U.S. international leadership "is called into question because of a pattern of indecision and inconsistency," Christie declared. "During this time of uncertainty it seems our leaders in Washington would rather stoke division for their own political gain."
The New Jersey governor added
that "this culture of divisiveness and distrust has seeped into our communities and our neighborhoods."
"It is you and only you, the state Legislature, who can lower taxes further and make New Jersey more prosperous for our middle-class families and their children," he told the state lawmakers in Trenton.
Sports rivalries also found their way into the state addresses, with Walker, a Green Bay Packers fan, needling Christie, a Dallas Cowboys fan, over the outcome of Sunday's playoff game, a hard-fought 26-21 Packers victory.
Alluding to Christie's out-of-state trips to join Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones in cheering on his team, Walker said he had had "plenty of fun hugging 'owners' in the stands at Lambeau Field," referring to the fact that the Packers, a publicly owned franchise, are one of four teams still alive in the NFL playoffs.
"Much like our military and the Packers, tonight I am proud to report the state of our state is strong," Walker said.
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