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. Isaac Bickerstaff

    Obama is going to take money from those Greedy Rich People and give it to me!....They don't even need the money...Well if they don't, I sure do...Show me the money, Obama my man!

    January 26, 2012 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. mmac

    obama's sotu speech was the least watched sotu since bush's last one.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. scorpioman

    The prez. sez there is a gap btwn the rich and poor. No kidding. Has been for a long time and will continue to
    be for a long time, until those at the bottom of the gap figure out why.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
    • M Houston

      I hope you enjoy the corporate plutocracy that the Romneys, Bushes, Koch brothers and Roves
      have made of our country. Yes, there have always been and always will be the "Rich" and the
      "Poor". And there also will always be the corporate gluttons of the world who, from time to time,
      need to be restrained from their thievery. That's the situation we have now and I hope President
      Obama is successful in reigning them in.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • David Miller

      A great campaigner, and a pathetic governor. But I love watch him campaigning, it is uplifting.

      January 26, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lolaz007

    Obama has had more than 3 years to get something done. "Hope and change"? we've been there, done that, and what have we got to show for it? Now it's on to "built to last?!!!" Give me a break, wasn't that a Chevy truck commerical slogan? I do not buy what he's selling, which is basically a lot of words without much action to back it up.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Martina

      You didn't expect Obama alone to fix everything, did you? Especially, with the Republicans trying to bury his initiatives? And have you ever heard of economic cycles? And effects of globalization and outsourcing on the national economy?

      January 26, 2012 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      More uninformed nonsense. Someone needs to educate you on the three branches of government and how they work. The president, on his own, has extremely limited power to do anything of significance. Since the night he was elected the GOP has made it known, quite publicly,their mission was to make him a one term president. There was never an ounce of hope from the GOP; they hated him on DAY ONE and they've been fighting him on every issue since then. And please refrain from the "dem controlled congress for 2 years" nonsense. Unlike the right-wing fringe that now controls the GOP the dems are a pretty moderate party i.e. they dont agree on everything. Let's not forget it wasnt until the 2008 election that we needed a super majority to get ANYTHING done

      January 26, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Lolaz007

      @Martina, puh-lease. Stop making excuses for a president who has shown little if any leadership on the most important issues facing this country. Instead of asking me if I've "heard of" economic cycles, the effects of globalization, etc. let's talk about concrete things: do YOU know that our president is working against the Keystone pipleline deal that would create thousands of jobs and provide us with oil from our ally and friend to the north, Canada? Do YOU know that if he continues to block the deal, the oil will go to China and we will not be getting those jobs? Is that OK with you? Because I can tell you, that is NOT OK with me and countless other Americans.

      Please educate yourself and get real before you lecture others.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Lolaz007

      @John, "More uninformed nonsense?" Your argument doesn't hold water or change the fact that Obama has been a poor leader. And maybe you're the one who needs to be educated or at least reminded of history. How is it that Bill Clinton got things done despite having to deal with a hostile Republican Congress and being investigated by Ken Starr et al?

      Last but not least, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but that does not entitle you to put words in other people's mouths. I certainly did not say much of what you wrote that I did.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      More nonsense. He rejected the Keystone deal because they're using it as an excuse to delay the payroll tax extension. You know ... the extension that puts extra money in the pockets of every working American. That tax cut is hugely popular specifically because it helps everyone. The GOP wants to keep kicking that can down the road because they know how incredibly bad it is for them on the public relations front. It makes them look terrible and they dont want to show their true colors unless they really have to. It's easy to say no to everything, but how about they engage in a real debate thats grounded in reality? I'm all for a good debate on every issue and I dont expect congress to agree on everything, but the fact that we are in a constant deadlock on every issue is getting old

      January 26, 2012 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. Realist

    Obama's speech was excellent and in alignment with how the American public feels. He is listening and looking for resolutions to correct the devastation this country has gone through plus implementing a plan to hold those accountable for this travesty. It is time that our representatives join together and put aside their egocentric party ideals and get this country working again. If the representatives were hungry and needed to provide for their families I am sure they would come to a meeting of the minds faster. They need to work for the fairness of humanity only one agenda.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. sam sam

    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." - Thomas Jefferson"

    John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the white House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement: "This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

    January 26, 2012 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. circle8

    He stated so many distortions, as in lies, that it was hard to keep track of them. That was his intention so as to confuse the listeners. Clinton was like a little boy telling lies both when he needed to do so and also when he did not need to but this clown is a pathological liar and should never be believed. If he is re-elected the USA is finished because we could never recover from four more years of his Marxist actions and the things that George Soros is doing behind the scenes. Soros is going to pay to reactivate the occupy pukes and have them turn violent before the election, just watch. Right now obama has the military training with Police Officers in major cities to prepare for MARTIAL LAW. Remember CONGRESS gave him the power (Dec. 2011-NDAA) to JAIL ANYONE WITHOUT CHARGES FOR INDEFINITE PERIODS WITHOUT THE RIGHT TO APPEAL THE ARREST. Sounds like the gov't just cancelled the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments of the constitution to me, how about you????

    January 26, 2012 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Joe Sixpack

    Our elected representatives are morons. We are in the middle of the worst financial crisis since the great depression and they keep saying everything's going to be fine. Everything is not fine and it's getting worse. If they don't get off their rear ends and turn this thing around quickly, they're going to destroy this country.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Martina

      Why don't you get out of the gym and help?

      January 26, 2012 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Wiped out American

      Don't hold your breath

      January 26, 2012 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. Anymouse

    He talks the talk, but so far he hasn't walked the walk.

    January 26, 2012 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jerry L

    The part the really excited me what when he essentially stated that he was going to forget the Legislative branch and act on his own. W

    January 26, 2012 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. gg

    Yes, for the most part. He certainly deserves re-election. The Republicans deserve a kick in the ass.

    January 26, 2012 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. Donald in CA

    I buy the presidents message any day over the right wing crazies. Newt, romney, PLEASE. These guys only care about money and their racist friends.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. Wiped out American

    What will get him reelected is results. So far he's followed Bush down the path to crimes against humanity and abeited the looters; not one conviction. What is striking is that the people who pick candidates are so happy with Obama that they have lined up a bunch of idiots to run against him, all taking the focus away from Obama's peformance. This won't last.
    Its worse now that it was 4 years ago, and it was bad then.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bob Ramos

    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."
    We took decades to get into the mess we are in. It will take decades to get out of the mess no matter who is President.

    I feel good about the parts that do not need Congressional approval but feel that those parts that do will not get off the ground due to the Repubs.

    On the wars – Both wars have been financed via borrowings. When they stop, the best thing to do is to stop these borrowings. We do need to take care of our veterans in some way.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:36 am | Report abuse |
    • jb2817

      Bob if you feel good about a leader who doesn't need approval from congress then you should move to be with Hugo Chavez. At least he's open about being a tin pot dictator, Obama doesn't even have the cajones to admit what he is.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. MG.

    Not to many people that I have talked to even bothered to watch this compulsive liar in his "state of the confusion message" last night from the white house let alone believe him! He's had three years to do something contructive, but has only managed to add an aditional $5 trillion to our national debt and become the most expensive leader in world history. His out of control spending on things like Obamacare has the country up in arms aswell, making things much, much worse for the economy. ...sit down Mr. president, NEXT!

    January 26, 2012 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Prince Tamino

      1) Congress added to the debt....presidents can't do that
      2) Had the president not taken on that debt key industries in our nation would have failed resulting in a certain depression..as such...
      3) This presidents action saved our economy from collapse.
      The above aren't so easy for the emotional and the simple to understand, unfortunately they comprise approximately half our electorate.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
    • John S.

      Prince Tamino

      How much is Odumba$$ paying you to troll here?

      January 26, 2012 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • quinLee

      P. Tamino, don't bother some people are just stuck on stupid and can't be budged. MG even states that the/she and most of the people they know didn't watch SOTU address BUT I bet they watched FOX or some other right wing media critique. As I said, stuck on stupid and likely very proud of it.

      January 26, 2012 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
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