WASHINGTON: Republicans warned Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s second-term agenda would bring more tax increases and escalate deficit spending, casting the president’s policies as impediments to middle-class families he championed during his re-election campaign.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, in excerpts released ahead of his Republican response to Obama’s State of the Union address, said he hoped that the president would “abandon his obsession with raising taxes” and pursue policies that would foster economic growth and help middle-class families achieve prosperity.
“Presidents in both parties — from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan — have known that our free-enterprise economy is the source of our middle-class prosperity. But President Obama? He believes it’s the cause of our problems,” Rubio said.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, in excerpts from a separate tea party response, cast blame on both parties, saying “Washington acts in a way that your family never could — they spend money they do not have, they borrow from future generations, and then they blame each other for never fixing the problem.”
The two speeches will help frame how Republicans respond to Obama’s first State of the Union address of his second term and try to shape the agenda at a time of divided government. Obama’s first term was marked by clashes with Republicans in Congress over the role of government, deficits and spending cuts, and both sides were using their addresses to offer prescriptions for rejuvenating the economy.
Rubio, a rising star in the Republican Party and a potential 2016 presidential contender, was delivering his rebuttal from the speaker’s conference room in the U.S. Capitol after Obama’s address. He was pre-recording the same speech in Spanish for Spanish-language networks, a nod to Republicans who have said that they must address their deficit with Hispanic voters in order to compete effectively with Democrats in the future.