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. Jon

    Seems to me like a biased article. For example, the first individual mentioned in article was in favor of the speach. But there was no mention of the party the individual belonged to. On the other hand the second individual mentioned was not in favor of the speech amd of course his party was mentioned. Of course he was a conservative. Finally, it mentions independants and some republicans in favor of the speech however, never mentions any liberals or democrats opposed. I guarantee that not all democrats approved the union address. All I ask is for fairness. This article beingbon the main article on cnn is a disgrace. Ob

    January 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • DJ McFly

      Yes, More Proof Liberalism Is A Mental Disorder.

      January 25, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rick LaRhette

    Although the speech was well delivered, Fact Checker points out that Some things in SOTU are incorrect, partial truths or deceiving. This leads me to conclude it was a campaign speech, not a true "State of the Union." Today Chuck Schumer said the U.S. was just fine. What is sad is the liberal Democrats really believe this stuff.

    January 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • BM Harris

      And you think the republicans are any different? I am independent, but I am sick and tired of all these children WE have elected. I will always vote, but the choices we have had the past 12 years are pretty sad. I believe the best thing that can happen is to re-elect Obama, and a repub majority in the House and Senate. That seemed to work pretty good during Regan and Clinton's terms. At least they leave us alone and let the people do what they do best. Make us a great nation.

      January 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mdmisti

    I see alot of people are discussing the 8 years of the Bush era and the messes it created, but most of those messes started in the Clinton era...

    January 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • jtarver

      The housing boom was created by Clinton's Secretary of Treasury Rubin, who made a fortune at Citi afterwards.

      January 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jasie

      Clinton gave us NAFTA which sent our jobs overseas. Guess Bush inherited NAFTA.

      January 25, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank from Gilroy

      Bush's 2003 home ownership initative where he wanted people on section 8 to be able to buy a home is where the housing bubble started. When people can't qualify to rent how in the hell do you expect them to own. Bush was a total idiot. Corn as a fuel source is another perfect example of what a total idiot the guy was.
      GOP mission statement – Make the RICH RICHER!

      January 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Wintertrain

    Beneath all the rhetoric from both parties, there are some simple truths that average Americans’ need to focus on. All Americans’ should pay their fair percentage of taxes, war is too costly in lives and resources, and healthcare needs to be available to all Americans’. These are my touchstones and I imagine there a touchstone for many of you. When the time comes.. Vote your conscience.

    January 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • BM Harris

      AMEN ( Hope I didn't offent anyone)

      January 25, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Plato

    hey you poor Americans keep voting for republicans so they can tax you more

    January 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • BM Harris

      You not from around here are ya boy?

      January 25, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nick26

    Obama just says what many want to hear, but doesn't actually do anything... Obvious from the past 3 years.

    January 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • BM Harris

      No different from the rest of our "Elected Officials"..........

      January 25, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sunshine

    The President laid out his believes and thoughts , he is a sincere person. But he can't do all by himself . He does not hold all the decisions in his hands. He needs a congress that also believes the same to work with and b able to put his ideas , thoughts and beliebes into effect.

    January 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Frank from Gilroy

    There has been a chilling rise in right wing hate around the country. President Obama receives an average of 30 death threats per day, a 400% increase over Bush. Conservative websites have called for a Honduran style military coup, offered a list of Democratic Senators to assassinate, and sold merchandise about Obama featuring Psalm 109:8 which reads: “Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.
    Gotta pity the GOP and those who vote for them! GOP Mission Statement – Make the RICH RICHER!

    January 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Sheila

    It has taken over 3 years and we're only just beginning to see any movement toward recovery in the economy. No thanks to Obama either... most of the gains are due to a standard flux of the business cycle. His regulations have destroyed whole industries, not just businesses.

    Sorry, Barack, you're fired.

    January 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RM

    For those of you who are calling Obama names can you please provide an explanation. For example, if you believe Obama is evil; can you provide a specific example or /examples of his evilness. Name calling for the sake of name calling is trolling in my opinion.

    January 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nick26

      I wasn't part of this name calling you said, but I could say he's pro-abortion.

      January 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • FedRed

      Not sure about the so called name calling. I do suggest you read an ariticle in 'The American Thinker" called The Soft Evil of Barack Obama.

      January 25, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. FedRed

    I will NOT vote for anyone that has three year to study the Keystone Project that would create JOBS and less dependance on foreign oil only to say I need more time. Stand-by our neighbors to the north, thanks for the offer Canada.

    January 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. don smith

    nope, sounded less convincing than 4 years ago, and all it was for was to officially open his campaign, bunch of hypocritical out of touch liars...thats all that lives in Washington anymore, they dont pump their own gas , they dont drive to work everyday, they dont go to er for health care , and for sure they dont grocery shop, and the republicans, a millionaire cult leader, and a has been womanizer thats it...we are screwed

    January 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Bob B

    Well if we limited this blog to well thought out comments, it would probably be empty. Name calling is usually the result of dropping out of school around 3rd grade.

    January 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • BM Harris

      Bob, I'm afraid our educational system is at fault here. From both sides, it's sad we cant respectfully disagree. Yet we expect our legislative and executive branch to get along? It appears we have all become hypocrites.

      January 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rock

    What happened to the hundreds of billions he already spent on all those "shovel ready" projects and infrastructure–he said the bridges and roads are still crumbling? What about the money he blew on solar and tons of other projects–everyone allows him to get away with that and divert attention by attacking people that are successful?
    This guy is totally incompentant at governance, an expert snake oil salesman. Too bad the media's falling for it and not slapping the guy back–he's the kid that blew his allowance on candy, then complains Daddy doesn't give him enough so he can;t buy books.
    He should have added to his Lincoln quotes
    You can fool some of the people all of the time,
    And all of the people some of the time,
    But you can't fool all of the people all of the time.
    Obama's Corollary: With the media on my side–I can probably fool enough of the people enough of the time to get away with it.

    January 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill

      he outlined a fair plan, that you disagree is ok – but you don't have to try to demonize everyone you disagree with – just vote for the other guy. but if you find a worthy republican to vote for – dial 1-800-GOP-Help and report it, because they are looking for one.

      January 25, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patsy

      Turn off Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Riellly, Beck, Malkin, etc. etc... It is a brave new world out there!!! You might be enlightened that the world is not like what they have painted for you with thier vile opinions that they are paid handsomely for!!! .

      January 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rock

      Patsy is a perfect name

      January 25, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • BM Harris

      Very intelligent response Patsy. Why don't you just stick to facebook if you can disagree without making assumptions about other people. How about an intellegent objective rebuttal.

      January 25, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • carrie

      Absolutely perfect State of The Union Speech!!! Obama did it with class!! Trhe Republican's are scared to death that newt the grinch will cause their fall!! 2012 for Obama, all the wayyyyyy!!!!!!

      January 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mikey

    Nope, keep the change.

    January 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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