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. Higher Rate?

    For double incomes more than two hundred and fifty in high cost places. Do you want to take care their children and pay their tuition?

    January 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Isaac Bickerstaff

    We to raise taxes...Just take the money from those who don't need it....Then the government needs to take that money and give it to me.

    January 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Higher Rate?

    For double incomes families in high cost places. Do you want to take care their children and pay their tuition?

    January 25, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Hey

    I'm voting for cool like fonzie in 2012.

    January 25, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MBronze

    What an interesting campaign speech by Obama.

    January 25, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Anthony

    Obama is one of the best president in American history, i am tired of the GOP rhetoric. He will go down in history as one of the best presidents of our country and no matter how hard evil tries to out do good it fails. An amazing speech and an amazing president.

    January 25, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • ray

      Anthony, I think your about the dumbest idiot in the world. Obama is going to be the worst president in history. Maybe in mexico or Somalia he might be a great leader, but not in the usa. Get an education!!!

      January 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Not Fat

    Obama's done a good job cleaning up Bush's mess. The economy always does better under a Democrat.

    January 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ray

    Obama is a loser and he won't win in 2012. Hillary is the one thats been running the country.

    January 25, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. NorCal dude

    So.... now that the media has asked Romney to release his tax records, which he DID – why doesn't that SAME media ask OBAMA to release all of his college records?? C'mon CNN......
    That's right, You and the rest of the White House Press Wing NEVER asks anything about this loser!!!

    January 25, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. NorCal dude

    COLLEGE TRANSCRIPTS??? where are they OBAMA?????

    January 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Revolution

    Perfect speech, I am ready for the new socialist regime and we can all be ruled by the UN. I hope we get more debt and we are driven to where we have to depend on the Government for everything because I do not want to do anything anymore and we can all be like a Brave New World.

    January 25, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MJ

    Not Buying.

    January 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Stick a fork in him

    People have woken from the trance his speeches invoke. Obama is done.

    January 25, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sudhir

    Its is time to boycott the elections and Join the Occupy movement. This time it should be chase the thugs off washington movement.

    January 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • other

      Why should I join the occupy movement? Its just a bunch of jobless people to lazy to get off their buts and get a job.

      January 25, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • MA Poli-Sci

      I support the occupy movement and I hope that they along with a majority of the 99% get out and vote for President Obama in November... his agenda for a fair shot and economic growth, green energy and education etc..stands in stark contrast to the destuctive toxic and greedy agenda the Republicans would like to impose on us.

      January 25, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • RingABell

      Obama is bad; Republicans are worse. The Republican candidates are just using their positions to play politics, to attack Obama. They don't give a dam about people in the lowest sector. They just want the rich's riches are protected. I doubt if it ever occurred to them that their mission is to serve all the people of the United States of America.

      January 25, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • DWest

      Communism came about by the desire to eliminate rich people. They accomplished that, except for the leaders who became rich dictators. There are no rich people in north Korea. Would you want to live there? Or are a few rich people needed to have a middle class?

      January 25, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • MA Poli-Sci

      Hey DWest...more rich people were created under Democratic leadership and more were lost after eight years of Republican rule by 2008.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • John G

      Obama gives great speeches. He then goes back to the White House and delivers nothing.
      Same old line we heard as he campaigned for presidency.

      Our only hope it to vote him out.

      January 25, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MA Poli-Sci

    After Republican Pres. Herbert Hoover through deregulation lead the economy and American people into The Great Depression the Republicans brought to the brink of the same in 2008.... Now they are squeeling to bring back those same greedy, short sighted destructive policies... After eight years of a Democrate Bill Clinton we had budget surpluses and 22million jobs...then the Republicans steal the election (with the help of the partisan Supremes)..and after eight years they manag to turn a great economy into a total disaster... And now they have the brass balls to tell us we need to go back to those very same ruinous policies... The country is recovering from the Republican's greedy self-serving reign... And after their nasty and harmful obstructionism in the Housethese past two years, they don't deserve that

    January 25, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Isaac Bickerstaff

      Herbert Hoover?!...Herbert Hoover?!...Yeah, that's a very convincing argument...And only an undergrad?...Watch out America....I think there's gonna be an awesome grad student coming on the scene very soon....What's really amazing is that Hoover gave us a depression for 4 years, FDR for 8....And Dems love FDR!

      January 25, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • MA Poli-Sci

      Hey under-classman... you need to spend less time at the phrat house keggers and a lil more time studying the charts and graphs... FDR's economic investments brought the economy back up ..until a Republican congress cut off investment..then the numbers decline until WWII (another huge govt. funded stimulus)..

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

      "Stole" the election? In what election count was Al Gore EVER ahead in Florida? It was obvious after numerous counts and recounts that Bush had won, Gore was too unstatesmanlike to concede, selfishly continually pushing the issue for his own agrandization, even though there was no chance, zilch, that he could he ever be confirmed as the legitimate winner by any authoritative body in Florida, and if by hook or crook he was able to manipulate some Florida court to award it to him, there is no chance, zilch, that the US congress would have accepted such an erroneous ruling as legal. In other words, Florida, the 4th most populous state in the Union, would not have had any electoral input for that election cycle. Which I'm sure would be fine with you, because without Florida, the national win would have gone to Gore. As long as you get what you want, to h*ll with everybody else, right?

      January 26, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Isaac Bickerstaff

      First Herbert Hoover and now the "Republican Congress"?...In the 1930's?...My friend, there was no Republican Congress anytime during FDR's admin...Dems always had 70 or more Senators and outnumbered Republicans in the House by more than 2 to 1...Supermajorities for 3 Congresses, then a merely crushing majority until our entry into WW2...You're not going to get into grad school if you can't master the basic facts...Leaving aside that the war was an economic failure, unless you consider food rationing as "good times"...Say hi to all your commie profs for me.

      January 26, 2012 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
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