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. larry of Massachusetts

    I missed the speech but I taped it. But when I went to play it I played the 2010 State of Union by mistake. And when I played the 2011 spec tonight, they were the same speech and the same empty promises he makes at election times. Mr Obama, fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me. I will not be fooled again – I AINT BUYING ANY OF IT

    By the way Obama's new 30% millionaire tax if implemented, would cover just 1% of the country's annual deficit spending - all show and no meat.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JB

    Obama came into office with his own agenda which had nothing to do with what the American people wanted. Now that he sees his own plans are hitting a brick wall, he's decided to cater to the electorate. Yeah right, he'll cater to the electorate until he's reelected. Then it's Katy bar the door, he'll be off on one of his lamb brain tears promoting his agenda of socializing every facet of American life. Goodbye freedom as he redistributes the wealth and rewards his cronies. His transparent government is under lock and key, just like his passport records and college transcripts.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      spoken like a true 1%er.. do you get off your farm often??

      January 25, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • rahul

      why do i get the feeling you don't read much.

      January 25, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Meki60

    it was the same as 3 years ago, nothing accomplished, nothing gained.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      A whole lot abused though.

      January 25, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Iamsoashamed

    Oh my I didn't even watch his speech!! or was it an address or was it all smoke and mirrors, or was it even worse?? Maybe a lying man trying to B-s his way thru the job??

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

    What was worse, is the Republican rebutle. He looked like an unconvincing, evil robot who slaps a fake smile on the end of his rhetoric, as if that's going to trick people into believing his filth. He obviously didn't even listen to his president, and proceeded with his own agenda, which was probably already written 4 years ago before Obama even took office. They just want to feed lobster to the top 1%, and leave Pizza Hut for everyone else.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeepers

    Speaking with National Journal magazine about Republican Party priorities for the 2008-2010 Congress, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell explained that "the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." If Obama has failed to make things happen, it's because of guys like Mitch McConnell.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BobJones

    I assume that most of the posters here (liberals) voted for Obama. And yet they do not see the error of their ways. Amazing! What a horrible, uninformed and idiotic mistake they made, and we are all paying the price. November 2012 we will fix the mistake. Let the Great Recovery begin.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • rahul

      You're right, the mccain/palin ticket would have barnstormed straight through this recession.

      The choice between presidential candidates has almost always been moderate right vs moderate slightly less right. To imply that any of the idiots that the republican ticket has put forth would have done a markedly better job than Obama is naive.

      January 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      who do you trust? the insider/lobbyist or the protector of the off-shore accounts? that's the real question that keeps the GOP lovin idiots up at night!!

      January 25, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fire0bama

    NO! Not anymore!!

    January 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dirk the Daring

    This article is biased right from the headline: "Did you buy what Obama pitched?" In other words, the article already answers our question that the president's speech was a "pitch" as in a trick, like a fastball or a curveball, or a movie script. It's kind of like when Reagan would ask what we thought of the "freedom fighters" who were actually raping nuns. Or calling an environmentally offensive policy "a clean air act." In law, what damned error but some sober brow will bless it and approve it with a text hiding the grossness with fair ornament.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      Have you rescued Princess Daphne yet?

      January 25, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Eric of Reseda

    "DID YOU BUY..."?!? Anybopdy that thinks CNN is part of the "Liberal media", rest assured, they're not.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dirk the Daring

      Yes exactly. It's like the exact opposite of what I was taught in journalism class about being unbiased in reporting and here we have a professional news organization doing it. BTW, yesterday CNNMoney (which we all know is like the Republican arm of CNN) was harping on how 80 percent of Americans paid less than 15 percent tax so why were we all harping on Romney? I don't even know if that figure is right, but CNN just report the damn news.

      January 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. enricorosan

    His speech writer is very good ! Obama delivered it very well but unfortunately his minders and string pullers forgot to decorate the background with the old Styrofoam columns. Yes, he reads well and he should be remembered as the first One term black president who can read well.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • rahul

      thinly veiled racism poorly posing as intelligent sarcasm. nothing to see here.

      January 25, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. WVLady63

    NO, but it really stunk!!!!!!!

    January 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • scottkey

      Why do you say it stunk? Put your money where your mouth is.

      January 25, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ddblah

      Of course. Helping middle class always stinks to GOP.

      January 25, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • peter Quin

      Ok, maybe it didn't stink, but it smelled REALLY bad!

      January 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Hitman

    Nothing new here folks! Move along!

    January 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      Get your head out of your A S S and start listening with an open mind....you may actually hear more than your own noise...

      January 25, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • scottkey

      Nothing new, Hitman? So, then why aren't the Republican not listening? Could it be that it is their way or no way?

      January 25, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Gary Rasbury

    He mentioned all the gas and oil we have and can have but never mentioned the Keystone pipe line. How crazy it is for us to pass this up and let China have it. If we don't get this pipe line I will never vote for Democrats again.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • ddblah

      As if keystone pipeline would be the solution...

      Yes, we need to talk about keystone pipeline because it does not make sense!

      January 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee L

      He never denied the pipeline in an absolute sence. Like any large infrastructure project, it needs to be carefully studied to make sure it is properly constructed. It may be approved at sometime in the future, it is just not being rushed through the process at this moment. This would have been done under either party's rule.

      January 25, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arciel

      china this, china that . . . are you scared little boy ?

      January 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • peter Quin

      He didn't mention it because it made the decision to cancel it to please a lobbying group. He absolutely knows that the vast majority of Americans disagree with his decision. He's campaigning so why would he bring up something he decided based on his favoring lobbyist. The truth would hurt him in that situation, so it makes sense for him to avoid it.

      January 25, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Don

    Same old crap,lies,lieslies

    January 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • scottkey

      Lies? What part, Don?

      January 25, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • ddblah

      Right, I am sure you would like to find a WMD in Iraq?
      You know, the reason that you think other people are lying is that you lie too much!

      January 25, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
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