Republican lawmakers from South Carolina dismissed President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday evening as another appeal to expand the government and increase federal spending.
Sen. Jim DeMint ripped Obama in an interview on CNN just before 11 p.m., shortly after the president concluded his speech to a joint session of Congress.
“It was hard to take him seriously,” DeMint said. “He’s trying to run from a record of broken promises, and we’re going to hold him accountable.”
Freshman Rep. Tim Scott, a North Charleston Republican, criticized Obama for refusing to approve a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline from oil sands in Alberta, Canada, across six U.S. states to refineries on the Gulf Coast, a project he said would create up to 20,000 jobs.
“And tonight he proposed even more new government programs and more new taxes, as if growing government is the answer to our ills,” Scott said.
Rep. Jeff Duncan, a Laurens Republican also in his first House term, delivered a defiant rebuttal of Obama and rejected his calls for compromise.
“I wasn’t sent to Congress to work with President Obama,” Duncan said. “I was sent here with a large freshman class to restore balance, and to stop the president from implementing a radical agenda,” Duncan said.
Duncan, like Scott a former S.C. House member, portrayed Obama as a failed president.
“In the three years since President Obama has been in office, unemployment has grown, our national debt has soared, gas prices have doubled and home values have dropped,” Duncan said.
“The president has ignored solutions to these issues from House Republicans, and has chosen instead to place the needs of special interests ahead of the well-being of the American people,” he said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Seneca Republican in his second Senate term, also panned Obama’s address.
“Tonight was more about political theater than problem-solving,” Graham said. “I had hoped he would leave the class-warfare rhetoric behind and try to bring us all together, but his speech was more about highlighting our differences than what we have in common.”