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. Jeff Benoit

    What would be the antonym for an American politician?

    My guess is jackal.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe


      I think you got it backwards:

      an·to·nym   [an-tuh-nim]


      a word opposite in meaning to another. Fast is an antonym of slow. Compare synonym ( def. 1 ) .

      1865–70; ant- + (syn)onym

      I think the proper 'anytonym' for American Politician is 'Ethical Leader.'

      January 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jim Colyer

    Obama has no vision of any kind.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sfs123

    Simple arithmatics -

    4 trillion additional debt = $4,000,000,000,000
    = 4 million million dollars ($1000,000)
    = 40 million 100K salaries

    So, what Obama did so great if he added a few million job? He could have just paid 100K to 40 million household for doing nothing given the debt he added.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Randy

    Never did, lies lies lies

    January 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gary

    How can Obama get anything done with Republicans, who only want to serve their own need; ensuring they devour steak every night? Republicans (except for Ron Paul) only care about their own party, not the people.
    No more spreadin' the disgusting CEO steak sauce thank you...(I have confidence in you Mr. President)!

    January 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bunchofbull

    Any body that blames everything on Obama is stupid... Bush set us up to fail... not like it wasn't already happening. It all comes down to the people on capital hill having nothing but self interest. So get rid of all of them,,, restart with people that don't have special interest... just the interest of the people not companies that have all the money. I'm not saying the democrats have the answers but the republicans are just as much if not more idiots as they are. NO ONE in power is worth it so quit blaming the one and see the big picture and say you all get out an get the people in there thats going to make a difference. But I see with these comments from the mass on these pages you would rather blame one person as to blaming a group that actually has the say in all matters.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fromtheoutside

    Obama's a great president, it's those that are blocking his policies of economic growth for their own political gain that are to be blamed for the not-so-optimal economic growth. After the election those do-nothing Republicans are out again and in 2016 it will be another Democrat (Hillary Clinton) that will be the next President of the United States.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tim in Indiana

    I will vote for Obama one more time, only because the alternative is so dismally bad. It is either Obama for a second term or right wing extremism that got us into this mess in the first place. The Republicans dragged us into wars they failed to pay for, gave the wealthy large tax cuts in the name of job creation (no jobs materialized) and again failed to figure out how to cover this cost. We have no giants in the land, only politicians who are only concerned with their own reelection.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dante666

      Timmy – Keep in mind that Obama had a controlling congress = and they were in charge during the Bush years – So do the analysys – this mess was caused by a demorat congress and a stooge President

      January 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Julie

    Jeez...is anyone EVER going to give this PRESIDENT some respect and address him accordingly? When did it become acceptable to address him simply as "Obama" or "Mr. Obama" instead of President Obama. The press needs a lesson in political etiquette.

    And on the topic of buying in, as they say in poker, "I'm all in!"

    January 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cindy

    Just fluff! More of the same old lies. I hope that all americans can see the man for who he really is and the damage that he has caused our county! He has single handedly put america in financial failure.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      I certianly wouldn't say single-handedly. If you will recall, the financial meltdown had begun under the greatest liar of them all....George Bush. He had already pledged to bail out the banks and had passed the bill. Unfortunately, once this type of snowball got started, it had to be fed to prevent the destruction of even more jobs in America. I for one would rather have bailed out the manufacturers than the Banks, since it's more blue collar workers and more middle class families at risk. I think the President Obama has done an admirable job in identifying the issues within our country and getting them on the table. Now if only the greedy, self-centered Republicans would negotiate, we might get somewhere in the middle.

      January 25, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Will

    Between Obama, Romney, and Gingrich, I will go with Obama. As much as the right likes to call him a die hard Liberal, most of his policies seem to remind me of the republican/ center policies of the 90's. As much as the candidates point to Reagen as inspiration if he were running he would have been labeled a liberal and flip-flopper and gone already.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. AGuyinAZ

    The president is very presidential and a wonderful speaker. Compared to W this guy is light years ahead in just about every category. My question is very simple... Why doesn't CNN just come out and say they are Republican Biased and be done with it. The way their writers approach this and other subjects always shows thier is a bias at all times. Who is the editor here Carl Rove?

    January 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. krist

    I like a lot of things he said but just because you say something doesnt mean you have even the slightest clue how to execute an idea; nor does it mean that you actually really believe in what you are saying. Obama has been a disaster, just like Bush. this country is rapidly coming to an end. no one can save us now....NO ONE!

    January 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • jamison

      The only reason people say Obama has been a disaster is because of the do-nothings in the GOP who refuse to help in the growth of our nation. The only ones they look out for are themselves and the "elite" that contribute to their campaigns.

      January 25, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • OH NO! The end is nay...

      Pfffft, just dry up. Okay? If you really feel that way, move to Nigeria or Somalia. Relinquish your citizenship and make room for someone who really wants to roll their sleeves up and make this country work.

      January 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terri from NY

      Once again, ignorance.

      January 25, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rudy

    Keep drinking the Kool-Aid libs!

    January 25, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      Says the guy who gets his news from Fox News. You and your fail TeaBaggers are the reason the economy has turned to hell. Bush for 8 Years (your party), Tea Baggers for the past 1 year. No wonder everything is still crap.

      January 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cj

      Yeah, the message was so bad, the stock market went +81 pts today

      January 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • I'm surrounded by idiots...

      Yo... CJ. Time for new "Lib" insults. The whole "koolaid" thing is getting old.

      January 25, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. asdf

    Obama has only one power, he can decide when to wage a war, and whether to sign a bill in.
    Congress should be put on the line due to their inability to allow a single bill through, or to even make one.

    Let the president do as he wishes and then in 2 years if we are satisfied, i am happy.
    No wonder president become grey because of all the stupidity and nonsense politics by the congress.

    Also i wonder if the repub really want to win, they may just want Obama to win, stop him from doing anything productive and only when the end of term occurs and the economy is getting better, come in and take over and take credit for all the fixes that Obama did.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      You're one of the few people who actually knows what a president's ACTUAL power and role is in American government.

      January 25, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • I'm surrounded by idiots...

      Well said... funny too... how the Tea Party believes that they can make the claim that Obama's "socialist agenda" will ruin this country. After all... he CAN'T do anything that Congress won't approve. End of story.

      January 25, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
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