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. gix

    Yes that is if he follows through those promises.

    January 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Anonymous010

    He said everything I wanted to hear, but I am uncertain of his ability to deliver – particularly with the Republicans obstructing everything he attempts to do. That said, I was going to vote for him again anyway because the GOP doesn't have anyone better running. Most people who criticize him say, "Look how bad things are!" What they forget is how much worse things were in 2008. Unemployment is slightly lower, jobs have been created, and the DJIA is on the rise. The truth is, Bush created a mess, and Obama has been slowly cleaning it up. I could understand someone arguing that he's not cleaning it up fast enough, but if that's your argument, then you want someone who is more aggressively Democratic, not a Republican. Anyone arguing that he's somehow made it worse simply hasn't looked at the big picture – or the facts.

    January 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Geoz

      true.

      January 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • DK

      You must be kidding. Things were so much better with Bush. I was employed then. Since Obama, I was laid off and he has spent more money then all previous presidents combined! I love when so many people bash Bush. It must be the "in" thing to do because I rarely meet anyone that says anything good which is funny when you thing he won a second term!

      January 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jony3322

    Why not? The country is heading back to recovery nicely ecnomically. Security is very good. Foreign policy is very good. Education is protected. Why should we hand it back to GOP?

    January 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Enlightened One

      You are wrong...check your facts. The economy is worse. He has had three years (two years with his minions in power on the hill) and managed to bail out his rich buddies and make almost everyone homeless. The outside world (Iran, Mexico and Latin America) see the US as weak. Are you sure this is the "change" you voted for?

      January 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda Thomas

      What makes you think the economy is improving lnicely? Because he says so, giving slanted numbers? His policies are not right for America and four more years of his "vision" will destroy us.

      January 25, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Larry Daily

    No way! He needs to go back to a community organizer where he is needed. That' s his true pay grade!

    January 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. CoachHouser

    I listened to about 5 minutes of it on the way home from work. As soon as he quoted Abraham Lincoln about government should ONLY do what people can't do for themselves, I spit out my drink all over my car. DO WHAT? I turned the radio back to the sports channel.

    January 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Linda Thomas

      He believes that. He just doesn't believe the American people are capable of doing anything for themselves. Therefore, big government!

      January 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Geoz

    All of it is possible, but much will be a challenge with the GOP Congress with their heels dug in. Maybe it is the TP, or maybe the GOP, but they are stuck in a "just say no" rut. They seem to hate the president more than they love the country.

    January 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Deb

    I don't and can't understand how people expect our President to UNDO and FIX everything that happened in the previous 8 years before him in HALF the time!!! It's like trying to pay off a huge credit card bill that was created in 8 years amassing huge interest each day with the same amount of money coming in (or less) and pay it off in 4. It's almost impossible. He has been stopped at every turn with a Congress that is unwilling to work with him from the getgo. All he wants is an America that we used to have, one that is united and one that is good for all. Don't we ALL want that? He can't MAKE companies hire; even with tax breaks for the wealthy, we haven't seen it. They just suck it up and keep it for themselves. I've seen it at my own workplace; they took advantage of the bad economy; laid people off and are making less do more, while sucking up the profits for the top 1%. Why? Because they can!! When the greedy people stop being so greedy and start to think about this nation as a whole, that's when things will change. Not one man can change it.

    January 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • guest123

      Maybe because he promised he could in his campaign and stated it would be his fault in 4 years if he couldn't–just a guess though.

      January 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pika

      The funny thing is, Obama was in the senate for those years that our dept skyrocketted. He isresponsible for his own mess.

      January 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pika

      Exactly, he promised everything and all you clowns ate it up. 3 years ago he didn't say, this mess is way to big to fix in 4 years....we probably can't do much of anything. No he didn't say that.

      January 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Deb...US debt ahs increase 39% since he took office in 2009. Unemployed has increased from 7.2 to 8.5%. His stimulus programs produced zero results that you and I can point to. I could go on and on and won't mention his divisive nature.

      Don't blame history for things he can control. Blaming the past is old and useless.The buck stops with this Chicago politician.

      January 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      @Pika...and he acted alone as a Senator to start the wars and create the debt? Hardly. Get over it, you know who created the mess and then walked away from it. Like I said, he can't MAKE companies hire people...when they decide to stop being so selfish and self-righteous and become united Americans helping each other, we'll start to see real change. It all begins with each individual and with the party hate running rampant in this country, it's difficult.

      January 25, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda Thomas

      What he did in the last three years is to increase our problems exponentially!

      January 25, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tom

    No ...this was a campaign speech and nothing more. He failed to show results and continues to spend taxpayer money without reducing debt. His is a polarizing person that blames eveybody except himself. He is not a leader and cannot manage the Office of the President.

    January 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Pika

    If you believed what the president said you must think everything in our country is absolutely perfect, we have no problems, the man in charge has it all under control. No recession here, unemployement...what's that? All our houses are worth more than they were 4 years ago, yep....I love president Obama, he fixes everything.

    January 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      You clearly did not listen to the speech!

      January 25, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ken Benedict

    Many of those who were duped by him in 08 will again be duped because of his color.

    January 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Enlightened One

      That's the truth!

      January 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • zen

      For all of you haters...we don't expect you to vote for Obama/Biden 2012. You easily forget from where you came. Bushwack and his cronies left us in a f–king rut with no daylight insight. You should use your commonsense as anyone with some could discern it will take more than 4 yrs to fix this crap. The repubs know people like you are haters and they pander to your type. It must be hard for you to breath along with the other haters whom have been angry with self..just self -hatred since Obama/Biden was elected. Get over it. Obama/Biden 2012 already!

      January 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Eve

    His vision for America is spot on. If this gap between the rich and working class continues, there will be a revolution in the US and history has shown that during revolutions, the "mob" always wins.

    January 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jason

    No sale here...It reminded me of his campaign speeches where he promised the world, but delivered nothing. It took Obama 3 attempts to get a Commerce Secretary – how is someone with such little experience going to be able to address the promises made last night?

    January 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. jolanda

    possibly the best speech and best president this country has see in a very long time! Too bad most Americans are fooled by the rich and self righteous crazy conservative republican obstructionists, who debate issues that in the rest of the world were solved 50 years ago and are total non-issues. This country needs up to date infrastructure asap..does anybody see how people in Western European countries live? a lot better than the "average joe" here..its time the American electorate wakes up and see further than their nose is long! There is "no great/ best country" in the world without a strong middleclass...here its only ok for the super rich!

    January 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pika

      Best president in a very long time? I guess that's why my retirement fund actually went down from last years...I LOST MONEY. My house is worth about 15% less than I bought if for, he's doing a great job.

      January 25, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda Thomas

      Best president? You've got to be kidding or have slept through the three year debacle.

      January 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • fiona

      Thanks jolanda I couldn't express my thoughts any better than you. President Obama is the most hard working, intelligent, and sincere president that I have witnessed in the past fifty years of following politics. If people would just take time to go to White House.gov and read all that he and his team have done in the past three years instead of taking the media's "flash" remarks; they might see what a disaster it would be if Obama did not win.

      January 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BC

    If you re elect this man in 2012 then you are a complete moron.

    January 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jane

      I definately will vote for President Obama, and I buy what he is selling. Go Obama!

      January 25, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gitsnak

      Except for the fact that the other options are complete morons themselves.

      January 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Heaveninc

    I work in the government, and to hear such hatred for a fellow human being and the president of our country is devastating and tragic that we have sunk so low as a nation. I also attended the United States Naval Academy, where we taught to serve our Commander in Chief, no matter what party. Elections came and then we would serve the next President. Where is the honor in being an American? Where is the pride? If we were all busy rebuilding America ,creating a better family life for our children and being excellent human beings we would not have so much time to tear each other apart. Enough already.. Live your dreams, passions and joys and stop blaming others for your lack of vision and abilities to be happy. There is no greater country.. We have everything.. make use of it or move.

    January 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • guest123

      Ironically, as government involvement in everyday life increases, so does discontent. Unfortunately, there is no longer a "small government" party.

      January 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • mfhpr

      Very well said, Heaveninc. I believe he REALLY cares about this nation – far more than any of the REPs in office claim to. Their complete disrespect garners no respect on its own from Americans that truly know and understand the facts.

      January 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • teb

      did you have the same comments when people were speaking ill of Bush?

      January 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heaveninc

      I did have the same feelings about the disrespect of the Presidency when former President Bush was in office. I the former President even when I did not agree with him personally. The people chose him, and I serve the people. I began to notice the decline of respect when President Clinton was in office., I still remember how phenomenal i felt shaking President Ford's hand as a young girl.. I long for respect for the office of the Presidency.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heaveninc

      Guest123 , I worked for a corporation before working for the government. Once in the government I was shocked, everything involves the government. The reality of making govenment small again is near impossible, without disrupting our quality of life. Everything we do is related to government in some way. The lights coming on, the snow being plowed, the water turning on for your shower, the hospital you take your parent too, the schools your children attend, the military I have served, your neighbors job they have been committed to for 20 years. Police officers, firefighters, teachers, forest rangers, and soldiers all are government employees and your family members, neighbors. Corporations that pay low wages, or non-family sustaining wages are subsidized by the food stamps their employees apply for. Even the wealthy corporations recieve tax breaks, credits we all depend on the government for our quality of life. Until we realize that the United States, is truly united and connected, we will fail as a nation if we don't desire and carve a path of success of all its citizens.. Most people just want a simple life.. buy a house, feed their kids, send them to college. We live in the most magnificent country on the planet. I look forward to the day we as a nation realize it.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • nunya

      Heaveninc: I agree with you in principle, regarding the Presidency re-becoming an honorable position. As for government touching every small portion of my life, that's the problem. I want less involvement. I pay for my water, I pay for the hospital (insurance companies don't give back as much $$ as they take in – they have people to pay), I pay for the electricity I use, I pay for schools and teacher salaries (currently taxes + private schooling).... so all those drop out of your argument. As for military, yes we need something to protect us from foreign threats. firefighters are a toss up – I know of a number of people who live in fire districts that don't pay for fire fighting services. occasionally the fire-fighters have to let a building burn down because they aren't paid to cover it. (after ensuring safety of life). I think forest rangers are a benefit, so I agree w/ chipping in a little bit to allow everyone to enjoy our nation's great beauties. As for police officers, I respect the work many of them do, but I predominately see them pulling people over for speeding – hardly a noble position (highway robbery). Also, I already paid my taxes for usage of the roadways, as well as the police officers' salaries.

      So from your statement above to Guest123, I see military, road maintenence (a tangent to police officers and road plowing), police officers, and forest rangers as worthwhile expenditures of my taxes. That is not to say I think government does an efficient job w/ those taxes. All the other items you listed simply fall out of the equation.

      Of those items, only road maintenence stands out as something in my daily life worth purchasing from the government (in the form of taxes). The other items do not belong to my *daily* life.

      Also, I don't want a simple life. That's way too boring for me. What is the point of living if you're just average? I want to DO something with my life. That take$ money. The fewer taxes I have to pay to prop up someone else who doesn't want to DO anything with their life is resources I can use to DO something to enrich my life and use to help define a purpose for my being. I am currently being deprived the full benefits of my labors to help people who don't want to help themselves become more. Can you truly call this 'fair' or 'just' by any reasonable metric?

      I know 'life isn't fair' but I think it's a laudible goal to approximate 'fair' as best as possible. To that end, I donate to charities (what little I have left after taxes) and I volunteer my skills and services to others (what little time I have left, after working for less take-home pay). I see America as the greatest nation on Earth. I also see it as the one nation with the best potential... and the reason I see such great potential is because I've read US history books... We're on the decline. We WERE better. We CAN BE better, but we have to shed these parasitic policies that are ruining our country. We need to restore the good and the bad that stem from people being accountable for their actions. This "Government As A Safety Net" mentality is un-sustainable and hurts EVERYONE, long run (and many in the short run too).

      January 25, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heaveninc

      I like your arguments nunya. What people don't understand, is that the very things they think are privaely funded are not. Many police officers work hard to protect you so that all you see is them pulling people over, you never see the horrific things people do to each other, and good for you. Police officers are doing a good job in your area. What people pay for services usually does not cover the costs, and people working in those services apply to the government for grants. I know for a fact that our water authority applies for millions of government money to keep the fees down to their customers.

      I don't believe in a government as a safety net either, i work two jobs to get by. I am seeing the middle class like myself losing their quality of life. I have no problem, with people making lots of money. i have a problem with hardworking people not being able to take care of their homes and families. Which i see in my office on a daily basis.. To become a 1% percenter all the power to you.. people are losing their rights to be a regular blue collar person with a home in America.. That is a problem.. You would be surprised to know how many of the private companies that recieve private monies.

      January 25, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
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