By Jack Torry THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
WASHINGTON — Rep. Pat Tiberi assailed President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last night, charging that “the president wants to fight” with Republicans who control the House and Senate.
Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, said the speech was “shocking to me,” in part because he said Obama’s call for breaking “out of these tired old patterns” near the end contradicted what the president said during most of it.
“I had hoped the president would reach out after the 21014 election,” Tiberi said. “(But) the first nine pages are a play to the Democratic base.”
He called the November elections a “repudiation” of the first six years of Obama’s presidency.
Other Ohio Republicans also were unhappy with Obama’s speech. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, said that if the “president’s big-government ideas worked, then our problems would have been solved a long time ago. Instead, for the past six years we have piled more and more debt on future generations of Americans with little economic growth to show for it.”
Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, said Republican lawmakers would work with Obama on cybersecurity and trade promotion authority “if it’s done right.”
“Half of it was just a wish list for folks who lost at the polls in November,” he said.
By contrast, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Jefferson Township, said Obama “did an exceptional job,” reminding Americans how the economy had improved and that health insurance had been extended to millions.
“I also liked he asked for help,” Beatty said. “He said, ‘Give me a plan, give me an idea.’”
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Obama made “clear that we must not reverse course on our nation’s 58 straight months of private-sector job growth.”
“We do that by growing our economy in ways that make it possible for everyone — regardless of their ZIP code — to succeed,” Brown said.
But Brown objected to Obama’s request for broad authority to negotiate a 12-nation trade agreement that would stretch from Canada to Asia. Under Obama’s request, lawmakers could only approve or reject a trade pact negotiated by the administration, not amend it.
“Before (we) rush to any more NAFTA-style trade deals, we need to invest in American jobs,” Brown said. “It’s time to put an end to the kind of trade deals that have sold out both American workers and American manufacturers.”
Jessica Wehrman of the Dispatch Washington Bureau contributed to this story. [email protected]