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. BVN

    I am absolutely FLOORED that Time Warner would EVER allow a HINT of criticism of The Chosen One!!! FLOORED! What could've it been!? What deed could bring the wrath of this ginormous multi-billion dollar special interest media conglomerate?!

    January 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRH

      Get real for just a few seconds...

      January 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bryan

    We are now just getting out of the mess the republicans created. And people are blaming Obama because he couldn't wave a magic wand! So sad!

    Shame on you. If this country votes the republicans back into power the country will get what it deserves and is doomed and it will all be your fault!

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

    President Obama delivered a Dynamite Knock-Out Speech yesterday!! Once again, he proved that his heart is in the right place! He Put People First! That's something the Republicans can only do when they are trying to CUT from people! Or in the other instance, when their rich friends come first! By contrast, Obama proposed so many great things that can really help this country move forward and I noticed that the Republicans, even though his proposals were very good, sadly, did not show any interest or enthusiasm in supporting them. Things like energy, education, the environment, clean water. Of course we all know the con-servatives would rather push for continued pollution, less classrooms, and dirty water, sad and pitiful but true! President Obama has the right message and vision for this country and even said if the Republicans would not help him bring his ideas around through legislation, he would sign Executive Orders to make it happen! Now, That's True Leadership of proposals that can only HELP Americans! I'm glad he has the courage to do that which is right for this country! What's the Republican's excuse?!

    January 25, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dave from GA

    Yes, I would vote for Obama because he is lesser evil than any Republican presidential candidates.

    January 25, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Frank

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


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

    Its a real shame when Americans know that ALL of the candidates are worthless and yet we still have to pick one from the rotten bunch. This has become possible because no regular, middle class person can afford to run anymore. The control of the country will forever more be in the hands of those with big money – no matter their agenda.

    January 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. amir M

    Mr President asks business owners to find ways to bring back foreign jobs to US. instead, Mr president should help to remove laws that prevent the businesses to perform in this country. mimicking what businesses are seeking and getting in certain foreign nations, is easy, duplicating the same in the country, as as good as an impossible task . After all, it was the government that caused the current disaster in US economy and not the working class! Government should therefore, find it a necessity to go deep in it's pocket to fix "what's broken".

    January 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glenc

      So you want to live in China, where something like 20% of their farm land is too polluted to safely eat the crops grown on it?

      January 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jokers to the left, clowns to the right here we are stuck in the middle again

    American VOTERS can't buy anything! if you mean did I agree what I heard then yes, It was significantly better than the GOP rebuttal of doom and gloom. Yeah Obama is the best choice because he offers a brighter future then the wealthy pigs feeding the ignorant farmers. People are so backasswards in this country. The fearful are bringing us down.

    January 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JRH

    Did I buy it? Would I buy anything that came out of Washington DC? Hardly. But I sure put more stock in what Obama says than ***anything*** that comes out of anyone's mouth in the GOP. That's a given.

    January 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. AZ retired

    Yes I did and I am thankful Obama is our President. After watching the debates and evaluating everything the GOP has to offer; I will vote for Obama. He is much more realistic about our problems. The GOP has nothing to offer but gross generalizations and come-on tactics like cutting income tax. If that were feasible it would have been done long ago!!!

    January 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. LouAZ

    His heart and his mind have America foremost . . . it is the bought and paid for Gang of 535 Cowards that have brought us here.
    Trying to work with those Princes and Princesses is like polishing a turb (b=d) . . . the harder you rub the duller it gets.

    January 25, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. amphiox

    What Obama needs is a non-obstructionist Congress. It's not enough to vote for him in 2012. If you believe in his message, you have to make sure he gets a Congress that will enable him to implement it. That means making sure the Democrats win the House, and there is, critically NO FILIBUSTERABLE Republican minority in the Senate (ie the Republicans must have fewer than 40 Senate seats).

    Otherwise, an Obama victory in 2012 will just mean another 4 years of stasis as the Republicans obstruct him again, and nothing on anything will get done. Whether the economy and jobs recover will then be entirely down to what happens naturally to the economy, and American government will simply be a spectator taken along for the ride.

    That will still be better than any Republican winner in 2012. In that scenario America will be plunged head first down a black hole.

    January 25, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Adam

    Get the right and left wing feathers out of your asses! Is Obama to blame for debt right now? YES, he's spending record highs across the board and that is fact. Is Bush to blame for the debt before that? YES, he had as much backbone in legislation as bowl of jello.

    I don't know what the solution is honestly but, as long as people get lost in these ridiculous party punching matches, we'll never solve any of it.

    I don't remember a single President delivering an address with a halo above his head and wings thrusting from his back! Wrong is wrong and as of the last 8 years... this country is headed in one terrible direction and both Bush and Obama can share some of the blame.

    January 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bryan Maxwell

    Obama's speech was very good but his actions are what concerns me. The Keystone pipeline extension would create 20,000 jobs but Obama rejected it because it would go thru Nebraska's Sand Hills which supports wildlife and ranching! You have to be kidding me due to the fact we build like crazy every where in the U.S. This is just one example of the many lies thru out The State of the Union Address!

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

      OBAMA 2012!

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

      Bryan, I agree with you in that it doesn't add up. He cancels Keystone XL but authorizes his agencies to open up 75% of our off shore sites for drilling. Was it only me scratching my head on that poroposal?

      January 25, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • supernautk1

      20,000 jobs, eh? Someone bought TransCanada's estimate. Ever look into how they came up with that number? They count the jobs twice... 10,000 for two years. So, you're saying that we should invoke eminent domain and usurp private property for 10,000 manual labor jobs? You think your gas prices are going to go down because of the pipeline? Try doing some research. I hope your condo/house/ranch/farm never gets in the way of a foreign company's ambitions.... then you'll be begging for the government to reconsider.

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

    Did I log into Fox news or CNN?? Aren't you guys supposed to report just the news and not take sides??

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

      What do you mean? CNN and CBS are both Left wing "elite media" operations.

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