January 25th, 2012
12:38 PM ET

Did you buy what Obama was pitching in State of the Union address?

With his re-election at stake, President Obama in his State of the Union address late Tuesday said "no challenge is more urgent" than keeping the American dream alive.

He laid out his plan for reinvigorating the economy by again calling for the wealthy to pay more in taxes. He called for lowering corporate taxes and providing incentives for U.S. manufacturers to bring overseas jobs back to America, while ending tax breaks for businesses that continue to outsource. Obama also ordered his administration to open up 75% of potential offshore oil and gas resources. He also challenged Congress to act on comprehensive immigration reform, and he called for legislation like the DREAM Act that offers children of illegal immigrants who go to college or serve in the military a path to possible citizenship.

Read the president's speech  | Key points of his speech

Whether he can get a divided Congress to act on the issues he set forth Tuesday night will be a big question during his re-election campaign. As CNN contributor Julian Zelizer asks: Is the Obama presidency "built to last"? But perhaps the bigger issue is: Can Obama get the support of a frustrated nation behind him to give him another term?

 When it comes down to it, it's a question of whether America bought what Obama was pitching.

Zennie Abraham told CNN iReport that he was impressed by Obama's State of the Union address, which he saw as a wholehearted and necessary embrace of a pro-U.S. trade policy.

"The President now realizes that nationalism is the one approach that will save America, whereas when he first took office, our allies, like France and Germany, were trying to talk him into maintaining the 'free trade is good' policy that has harmed America," Abraham said. "In doing so, Obama also hones his case for good old-fashioned Liberalism."

Abraham, from Oakland, California, said he felt Obama delivered "an excellent speech," one that was right for our struggling country, and took the steps to begin showing just how he will turn it around.

"He outlined the role of government in our lives as it is needed in our lives now to improve America and restore our standard of living," he said.

But Vernon Hill, a conservative-leaning voter, was generally disappointed with the State of the Union speech, and doesn't think that Obama has achieved enough to deserve another term as president.

Hill felt there were many more issues that Obama needed to address that had been hampering his ability to get anything done.

"Obama has been his own worst enemy by surrounding himself with people who will not disagree with him and whom have no business backgrounds," he argued.

Hill, who is from Morehead City, North Carolina, said he felt the president is a "master storyteller," but needed to talk more actual substance about bypassing Congress, the Keystone XL pipeline project, the deficit, and the current cost of gas. So, for him, Obama's speech was just another example of "more promises and hope."  And Hill said Obama hasn't shown that he can go past rhetoric and deliver results.

"If he can't succeed in three years, four more years would be more failure on his part," he said. "Obama has been his own worst enemy."

Egberto Willies told CNN iReport that Obama needed to go harder and more forcefully moving forward.

"I hope Obama does take a more aggressive approach. People like his calm approach. They know his accomplishments but they are still in dire straits," he said. "He must point specifically to the root of our current demise, and forcefully state that being given a second term with a Congress willing to work for the American people, as opposed to an ideology, is essential."

Willies, from Kingwood, Texas, said he did however think Obama took the first steps toward that goal by delivering an appropriately articulated speech that presented how he will move his vision forward. Willies said he believes the speech will help get the president re-elected.

"It is likely the best State of the Union address that he has ever given," Willies said.

Willies said he thought Obama was able to tout his specific accomplishments, while refuting what he saw as fallacies being floated by the Republicans about his policies. And he told the American people that regardless of the gridlock, he would find a way to help them, Willies said.

"He also most importantly said where he has the power to act, he will, and if Congress comes along it would be better," he said.

Willies, who attended a watch party, interviewed several guests about what they thought about Obama's speech. Several of the people there said they thought it was an "excellent speech," one that touched on all of the issues he needs to be talking about. And many of those people said they were pleasantly surprised that Obama delivered even more than they had expected in his fight for a strong middle class.

But not everyone praised Obama's ideas or believes he can pull off the feat of bringing the government together to create change.

A commenter with the username xtallake said that Obama's ideas are just not the right ones for this country.

"He is too far liberal and the cause of the completely divided Congress. And he doesn't even know it," xtallake wrote. "He needs to unite and compromise...but he doesn't. He will not be re-elected again....unless he actually tries to work with the other side. We need a uniter."

Longtime iReporter and political junkie Omekongo Dibinga is optimistic about Obama's presidency after watching Tuesday night's address, but believes Obama has a way to go before his rhetoric and accomplishments come into alignment.

"Presidents are generally more aggressive with their agenda on their second time around," Dibinga said. "The main thing I want to see are long-lasting improvements in education."

For him, it is time for Obama's rhetoric to really bear some fruit. And while he feels that Obama delivered some strong ideas that set him apart from the Republican candidates' offerings, the proof of whether Obama is the right one to lead will be in the results, he said.

"'I am indeed optimistic but I just haven't seen some of the things he was talking about bear themselves out over the past three years," he said.

Mark Ivy agreed that Obama presented some solid ideas during his speech that delivered plenty of red meat to his base, but said that Obama needs to address the national debt and deficit spending in order to attract swing voters and win re-election.

"'We are all in this together. We must all be willing to give a little," he said. "The number one way to attack the debt and attract Independents and Republicans is a real plan of attack on the tax breaks, the tax deductions that cause the disparity in the effective tax rates. This must (be) done across the board."

Ivy, who is from Farmersburg, Indiana, said he believed closing the "loopholes" would have a real impact, and it is a move he believes both Republicans and independents can support.

The speech, Ivy said, was a "populist and mostly moderate course of action for the next 10 months." But Ivy said he wished the president had discussed even more specifics rather than general themes.

Overall, Ivy thought Obama gave an "excellent stump speech."

"But he offered nothing  that would inspire or win over Republicans or independents," Ivy said. "While I give the President kudos for his closing and  mentioning Seal Team 6 and the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden, there was very little new and nothing to breathe life into our sagging economy or to stymie the ruptured artery of debt siphoning the life from the nation."

But not all of those who generally oppose Obama thought he did all that badly in laying out his vision for the country.

"Forgive me. I am a Republican and a Conservative. But I just cannot deny that Obama is EXACTLY what the country needs right now," user SteedLaw commented. "What I just heard is what every American has been waiting to hear. Can he achieve it? Well, it sounds like Congress just needs to get those bills put together. Otherwise, I think it is safe to say it is curtains for the GOP this round.

"Obama may not be many things, but there is no doubt he is a true leader. Until I hear anything of that magnitude come from the mouth of a republican candidate (which I doubt), Obama can count on my vote."

That's a sentiment other readers echoed, wondering if what Obama did last night shines a spotlight on the GOP and what it is offering or not offering.

"Obama is not the perfect choice, but the best one for 2012," a user named imdudesdad commented. "The Republicans offer nobody who can do better. With them, it's more Bush policies and maybe worse attacking Iran for another expensive government spending program. Obama isn't perfect, but is by far the best."

Adriana Maxwell said she thinks that Obama's State of the Union address was great oration, but she's skeptical about how much of his agenda will actually be put into action unless he attempts to compromise with the GOP-controlled house.

After talking about several of the plans that Obama mentioned Tuesday night, Maxwell said she suspects that Republicans will argue his plans will only increase the size of the government and not actually save money for consumers.

"Occasionally Speaker Boehner and other Republican leadership will comment that they haven't spoken to the President about the legislation," she said. "It gives the appearance the that the White House is not cooperating on domestic issues."

And that could be a big issue, based on all of the plans Obama laid out Tuesday night. If he can't get support, he'll be forced to try to go at it alone, and that's something Maxwell said she thinks isn't exactly the best idea. She said there needs to be a real effort by the president to lead a collaborative effort to turn the nation around from what she calls a "state of disunion."

One commenter, Mike500, said the speech only solidified his opinion that Obama was the worst leader since President Jimmy Carter.

"More class warfare. More big government. More spending other people's money," he wrote. "Truly sad."

Independent voter Melissa Fazli was motivated by the State of the Union address to support Obama's re-election campaign. She says she strongly supports Obama's call to investigate and bring prosecution against the lending practices that led to the housing crisis.

As a former real estate agent, she said she saw mortgages that never should have being given. So when Obama announced his special task force, it hit Fazli hard.

"I was literally brought to tears," she said.

She added she hoped that Attorney General Eric Holder would take Obama's message to heart and work to bring real justice to those "that were bamboozled by these big banks."

"I would like to see it enforced by everyone using social media everyday to keep it on Obama's table until indictments are made," she said. "I would love to see some of these banks go directly to jail and not collect even $200 along the way."

Obama's statement didn't just make her get teary-eyed. It also convinced her to make a drastic change, proving that perhaps for some, Obama did do enough to restore their faith in him.

"I have something to confess," she said. "As a 22-year registered voter of the American Independent Party I am switching over to the Democratic Party. I believe in a democratic society, for the people and by the people and President Barack Obama has convinced me to switch from an Independent to a Democrat."

While she voted for Obama in 2008, she felt that Tuesday's speech cemented her belief in his views.

"I realize after listening to all the GOP candidates and listening to Obama's State of the Union address that I am really a Democrat, so much so, that I printed out my voter registration form and already switched to the Democratic Party."

soundoff (2,654 Responses)
  1. mam2886

    Presedent George W. Bush was an arrogant president that tried to lead by bullying as part of his forieng policy. President Obama has given the US back the leader status by taking the arrogance out of the equation. GOP bullies and Obama builds bridges. GOP has ideology that is arrogant and Obama has a nations best interest. GOP will do anything, say anything to take down this President, FACT. The GOP will even push a class warfare agenda to prove it. Who are the sheep???? Who are the ones taken by politicl rhetoric. GOP is rhetoric with no reality, proof is in the candidates still standing. None can command and lead, none has a chance of moving this country. Has Obama been perfect no but does anyone have vision that is 20/20 in hindsight and can tell us that any other person would have been better/worse? Nope don't speculate on future use proof and I think that althought it has taken time the economy and the future looks better so don't mess it up by bringing in another variable i.e. and unknown.

    January 25, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. louie3

    I suport him completely

    January 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. asdf

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/01/15/andrew-sullivan-how-obama-s-long-game-will-outsmart-his-critics.html

    Just wanted to leave this here. Got facts, and bashing them is useless, This is the record Obama has left behind, and see what you want, anyone who bashes this is just a radical and has no agenda other than to hate Obama

    January 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. D.Spaulding

    It's time that this Nation learns to appreciate what's good in a President before looking for the worst in him. I am afraid, over the past three years or more (Or even before he took office) the Republicans wanted him OUT! JUST OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE, if I may say. It's not good to see a Black man in a White House. It's not good enough therefore for him to shine, the way he does every time he stand up to speak is irksome to too many Republicans because they just cannot stand up to him. I think, last night was one of his best; he said all what he needed to say, and answered all the questions so many of his Republican colleagues had. But they will not be satisfied, until he is out of his Presidency. I am more than convinced that he will come through this impasse, and will get his second term in office.

    January 25, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Independent

      Hi Pollyanna. Time to wake up from your fantasy and be real. Managers don't get the benefit of the doubt – we don't look for what's good. There is only one measure of a leader/manager: it's RESULTS. Obama made endless promises and hasn't produced what he promised. Any company would fire him for not pulling his weight. If only his lack of performance were limited to a single company. In this case, he's dragging down the entire country. The stakes are high, hence, the judgement is harsh. It should be.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alex

    Obama is my hero. I have so much love and respect for him. How many republicans can say that about Gingrich or Romney?

    January 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • LayneP

      I can say that about Romney. He is a successful man that Is both generous with his money, he donated over 15% of his income to charities in the last 2 years, and he is generous with his time, and didn't take pay while serving as Governor of Massachusetts and has said he won't take pay as President.

      He truly wants to serve the American People and make this nation great again.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      @LayneP – Good points, but I imagine you are an exception. And, I note he donated mostly to his Mormon church and the government subsidized it. I don't think the government should subsidize any religious contributions.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Barry G.

    I'm starting to think that both parties are about the same, despite their rhetoric.

    They both use hot-button issues to distract the public, then they use their offices to become extremely wealthy, far beyond their annual salary of $175,000.

    See: David Stockman’s book, Capital Cronyism.

    January 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. aleph3

    It sounds better than what any of the Republicans are pitching.

    January 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jay

    PLEASE Mr. President,
    continue doing what you need to do to get through and around these teabags. you hit the spot right on last night!
    You are for the people! You are our Kennedy! and Carter! loved him also! and Clinton!
    Democrat's know how to make things fair FOR ALL!!!!!!

    YOU WILL win in 2012~ hands down!!

    you go Mr Obama

    January 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Self Reliant

    *** Let me guess, you guys like the rest of this board are probably in the 47% of the country that pays no taxes and the 49% that receives some type of government assistance. Churchill said it best "If your not a democrat by the time your 20 you have no heart, and if your still a democrat by the time your 30 you have no brains". ***

    January 25, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      I put myself through graduate school, pay taxes and receive no government assistance. Obama 2012!

      January 25, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jdun

    Loved his speech, but it fell of deaf ears in the congress. They have no intention of helping Obama or the American people in any way if it costs the rich any dough. Bob Woodward said that Obama wasn't talking of the concerns of the middle class last night. Wrong. I heard loud and clear that the middle class needs help and that is the first priority, not cutting the deficit, or ending social security and medicare. The deficit means nothing to someone without a job. Refusing to deficit spend worsened the Great depression for 3 years under Hoover. Obama's main fault is that the stimulus was only half as big as it should have been, and now congress has the numbers to block any new stimulus and can blame Obama is a failure. So, we are stuck with slow growth and a shrinking investment in America by our government. Who's fault is that?

    January 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jeff

    you guys should listen and vote remeber he didnt start this bush did this retards

    January 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      yall better vote please we need your help

      January 25, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Still_for_Cain

    I just do not understand why anyone would support Obama... Based on the REAL state of the Union. Another 4 years of him and we will be in deep(er) trouble.. I am going to do my part and vote against him and maybe, we can get some one if office that will not try to destroy this country. This election is going to be based on who you don't want as opposed to who you do want.

    January 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry G.

      It would be unfair to blame President Obama for the misdeeds of others.

      Economists are convinced that our current economic problems are the result of the past twenty to thirty years of irresponsible fiscal policies.

      If someone runs a car in a ditch, it wouldn’t be right to blame someone else for not being able to get it out.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • smsusaf

      Make them pay twice on the income 35% and 15% so the 47% who pay nothing can wait in line for Obama and the Dems han buy votes

      January 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • obama supporter

      Considering things are better now than they were two years ago, it's not as cut and dry as you suggest. Considering the recession that we are still recovering from was the second worst in over a hundred years, I wouldn't expect things to be fabulous overnight. We have serious problems, and you can't logically pin them on Obama. The top wealthiest of Americans own a staggering portion of the wealth. It's unhealthy, but you can't say Obama is the cause of that. The unemployment is at 9% based on federal standards... but jobs were being lost at almost a million every month BEFORE Obama took office. This is not OBama's doing, so unless you want to be a little more reasonable, all I can tell you is that you are wrong.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • ST TOMA

      NDAA

      January 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • FritzAB

      You honestly think Obama is trying to destroy this country? Really? How did you come to that conclusion? That he killed Osama Bin Laden? That he is trying to support America workers? That he saved the US automotive industry and millions of US jobs? What is it that Obama is doing is actually "destroying" this country? Yes – the country has problems and we should be looking at solutions for the problems. The Republicans in Congress have said their primary goal is to unseat Obama – their goal is not to help Americans. Yet you cast the blame at Obama? I would really like to hear why you think Obama is destroying America – supported by facts....

      January 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      The reason I support Obama is that his policies are working. The hole that we're in is just too deep and is taking time. The reason I will NOT SUPPORT a republican candidate espousing the same policies that got us into this mess are too obvious to mention.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      So your going to vote for either Romney or Newt? I don't like Obama but the GOP does not offer a viable alternative. Mark my words, Obama will get reelected because the GOP does not have its act together.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Still_for_Obama

      I don't understand why anyone would vote for any of the other candidates. The main agenda for Republicans has been to beat Obama in 2012. Because a successful US economy would guarantee an Obama victory, Republicans have been setting him up for failure by obstructing Obama's policies, even those that have been proposed by other Republicans. I'm voting for a candidate that is still hoping for America to succeed.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thatzwhy

      It's funny how President Obama "non-supporters" see all of his faults in 4 years, but Bush had 8 years to get absolutely nothing resolved (RESOLVED is the key word). Let's not forget Bush's dad had his 8. Have any PRESIDENT Obama "non-supporters" ever thought about how all these issues came about? PRESIDENT Obama has only been in office for 4 years. Bush had 8 to create issues, over-spend, never address class, etc... nor gave a "State of the Union" speech that was intelligent much less logical. So, really PRESIDENT Obama is cleaning up 16 years of mess. I think 4 years is not enough time to fix 16 years of BS. Don't you? Like The President said last night, let's all use some common sense. Please.

      January 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Isaac Bickerstaff

    Awesome SOTU...Obama will take money from people who don't need it and give it to me!...Just show me the money, baby!...Obama 2012!

    January 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • obama supporter

      that's a bad troll! very bad troll! now go sit in the corner.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Isaac Bickerstaff

      Obama's poll numbers are up...Unemployment is down...Most Americans want the government to take money from people who don't need it and either give it to them or buy stuff for them....The only question in the America that's built to last is, is it better to be on welfare or get a government job?...Add up those 2 groups and you have a majority...Obama's gonna win.

      January 25, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ordnry1

    I think the Republican Party cares more about winning the election than the welfare of the American citizens. Having said that, it’s not just the Presidents, Republicans or Democrats, it’s the individuals who must work hard for their own success in their lives. There have been many great men and women who started out with nothing and yet accomplished a lot, regardless of political situations. So, blaming people will not solve the problems in our lives. It upsets me to hear Newt Gingrich referring to Obama as the worst President in the US history. Imagine the remark coming from Gingrich. Would he like it if people called him names? He lashed out at John King for asking a legitimate question. I wonder who the best Republican President was. George Bush, Jr.?

    January 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • abby

      Mitch McConnell and other Republicans have publicly stated that their sole goal is to make Obama a one-term president, to make him a failure. It has nothing to do with helping America.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paulie

      Its obvious to most people that Obama will say anything to get re-elected. The problem is that this election people will hold him to his deeds of the last 3 years as well as his words.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Isaac Bickerstaff

      The Republicans never say the want to take other people's money and buy stuff for me with it!...They are evil and I would never vote for them.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • obama supporter

      isaac, you are a poor troller.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • sistersolja

      and Newt is a joke to everyone who listens to him and who believes him! He is FUMING right now – He is heartless, a cheater, a sorry business man and to think that others want him to be PRESIDENT of MY United States is absurd!
      He is such an arrogant dimwit that cheated on his wife, WHILE she was battling cancer and on her death bed... God has a special place for him – Pres. Obama is one of the MOST distinguished, selfless, spirited, heartfelt and INTELLIGENT (educated) President in history – He deserves another term and he will get 4 more years! Watch, look and WITNESS! Congrats on your speech, Mr. President! Well done! (Newt, you can put your tongue back in your mouth now – waggin' dog)

      January 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • SickOfTalk

      Yes, well done on your speech Mr. President.....er, aide who wrote it for you.

      January 25, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Barry G.

    Please tell me: When did “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” become a license and justification for selfishness, greed, arrogance, and irresponsible and unethical behaviors?

    January 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • abby

      when America became a plutocracy....

      January 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Isaac Bickerstaff

      Amen, brother....We need to use the government to take other people's money, so we can have it!...That's the American way!

      January 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry G.

      Well done, Abby and Isaac.

      It seems that the U.S. is following the same tragic couse that the Ancient Roman Empire took, as it neared its fall, in the early to mid fifth century C.E..

      January 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
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