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GOP hopefuls blast Obama's state of the union address 0

Bryn Weese, Senior Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama is divisive, detached from reality, and has declared war on America's wealthiest people, according to the Republican candidates vying to take him on in November's election.

The GOP candidates sounded off against Obama's state of the union address Wednesday.

Mitt Romney told supporters at a metal fabrication factory in Florida that he was shaking his head at the TV during Obama's address Tuesday night.

"The detachment between reality and what he says is so extraordinary," Romney said. "This is a president who talks about deregulation, even as he regulates. Who talks about lowering taxes, even as he raises them. Who talks about expanding energy resources, even as he tries to shut them down.

"I think it's time we have someone who says what he means, and means what he says."

Newt Gingrich said Obama's speech was proof he isn't concerned with creating jobs.

"Economic growth and prosperity is not really at the top of his agenda. He will always prefer a food stamp economy to a paycheque economy and call it fair," Gingrich said in a response posted on his website.

On Tuesday, Obama renewed his calls for economic fairness by proposing a surtax on millionaires and billionaires so that they pay 30% income tax.

Rick Santorum, who is languishing in third place leading up to Florida's Jan. 31 primary, warned beforehand Obama's speech would be full of "flowery rhetoric" that would yield few results.

After the speech, the socially conservative candidate accused the president of using the podium to launch his re-election campaign.

"From beginning to end, the American people heard more of the same — empty promises and grand platitudes that will do nothing to help the millions of Americans who are unemployed or underemployed find a good paying job," Santorum said in a statement late Tuesday. "Rather than call for decisive action in allowing projects like the Keystone Pipeline or reducing the regulatory burden his administration has imposed, the president declared war on those who are most successful in our society.

"Barack Obama should realize he's the president of all Americans, but sadly, he has instead chosen to govern and campaign as the divider-in-chief."

Libertarian-leaning Ron Paul, who is skipping the Florida primary, blasted Obama for failing to address the real problems facing the U.S.

"President Obama claims to want an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. Yet he remains committed to the same old system of debt, deficits, bailouts, and cronyism that created our economic problems," Paul said in a statement. "Instead of offering solutions to the problems our country faces, the president was intent on delivering a campaign speech, further dealing in the typical Washington political gamesmanship that has gotten us exactly nowhere close to improving the lives of the American people."

bryn.weese@sunmedia.ca


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