January 27th, 2010
10:30 PM ET
12 years ago

Full text of Republican response

After the jump, read the full text of the Republican response, as prepared for delivery, to President Obama's first State of the Union address:

Good evening. I'm Bob McDonnell. Eleven days ago I was honored to be sworn in as the 71st governor of Virginia.

I'm standing in the historic House Chamber of Virginia's Capitol, a building designed by Virginia's second governor, Thomas Jefferson.

It’s not easy to follow the President of the United States. And my twin 18-year old boys have added to the pressure, by giving me exactly ten minutes to finish before they leave to go watch SportsCenter.

I'm joined by fellow Virginians to share a Republican perspective on how to best address the challenges facing our nation today.

We were encouraged to hear President Obama speak this evening about the need to create jobs.

All Americans should have the opportunity to find and keep meaningful work, and the dignity that comes with it.

Many of us here, and many of you watching, have family or friends who have lost their jobs.

1 in 10 American workers is unemployed. That is unacceptable.

Here in Virginia we have faced our highest unemployment rate in more than 25 years, and bringing new jobs and more opportunities to our citizens is the top priority of my administration.

Good government policy should spur economic growth, and strengthen the private sector’s ability to create new jobs.

We must enact policies that promote entrepreneurship and innovation, so America can better compete with the world.

What government should not do is pile on more taxation, regulation, and litigation that kill jobs and hurt the middle class.

It was Thomas Jefferson who called for “A wise and frugal Government which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry ….and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned…” He was right.

Today, the federal government is simply trying to do too much.

Last year, we were told that massive new federal spending would create more jobs 'immediately' and hold unemployment below 8%.

In the past year, over three million Americans have lost their jobs, yet the Democratic Congress continues deficit spending, adding to the bureaucracy, and increasing the national debt on our children and grandchildren.

The amount of this debt is on pace to double in five years, and triple in ten. The federal debt is already over $100,000 per household.

This is simply unsustainable. The President's partial freeze on discretionary spending is a laudable step, but a small one.

The circumstances of our time demand that we reconsider and restore the proper, limited role of government at every level.

Without reform, the excessive growth of government threatens our very liberty and prosperity.

In recent months, the American people have made clear that they want government leaders to listen and act on the issues most important to them.

We want results, not rhetoric. We want cooperation, not partisanship.

There is much common ground.

All Americans agree, we need a health care system that is affordable, accessible, and high quality.

But most Americans do not want to turn over the best medical care system in the world to the federal government.

Republicans in Congress have offered legislation to reform healthcare, without shifting Medicaid costs to the states, without cutting Medicare, and without raising your taxes.

We will do that by implementing common sense reforms, like letting families and businesses buy health insurance policies across state lines, and ending frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals that drive up the cost of your healthcare.

And our solutions aren't thousand-page bills that no one has fully read, after being crafted behind closed doors with special interests.

In fact, many of our proposals are available online at solutions.gop.gov, and we welcome your ideas on Facebook and Twitter.

All Americans agree, this nation must become more energy independent and secure.

We are blessed here in America with vast natural resources, and we must use them all.

Advances in technology can unleash more natural gas, nuclear, wind, coal, and alternative energy to lower your utility bills.

Here in Virginia, we have the opportunity to be the first state on the East Coast to explore for and produce oil and natural gas offshore.

But this Administration’s policies are delaying offshore production, hindering nuclear energy expansion, and seeking to impose job-killing cap and trade energy taxes.

Now is the time to adopt innovative energy policies that create jobs and lower energy prices.

All Americans agree, that a young person needs a world-class education to compete in the global economy. As a kid my dad told me, “Son, to get a good job, you need a good education.” That’s even more true today.

The President and I agree on expanding the number of high-quality charter schools, and rewarding teachers for excellent performance. More school choices for parents and students mean more accountability and greater achievement.

A child's educational opportunity should be determined by her intellect and work ethic, not by her zip code.

All Americans agree, we must maintain a strong national defense. The courage and success of our Armed Forces is allowing us to draw down troop levels in Iraq as that government is increasingly able to step up. My oldest daughter, Jeanine, was an Army platoon leader in Iraq, so I'm personally grateful for the service and the sacrifice of all of our men and women in uniform, and a grateful nation thanks them.

We applaud President Obama's decision to deploy 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. We agree that victory there is a national security imperative. But we have serious concerns over recent steps the Administration has taken regarding suspected terrorists.

Americans were shocked on Christmas Day to learn of the attempted bombing of a flight to Detroit. This foreign terror suspect was given the same legal rights as a U.S. citizen, and immediately stopped providing critical intelligence.

As Senator-elect Scott Brown says, we should be spending taxpayer dollars to defeat terrorists, not to protect them.

Here at home government must help foster a society in which all our people can use their God-given talents in liberty to pursue the American Dream. Republicans know that government cannot guarantee individual outcomes, but we strongly believe that it must guarantee equality of opportunity for all.

That opportunity exists best in a democracy which promotes free enterprise, economic growth, strong families, and individual achievement.

Many Americans are concerned about this Administration's efforts to exert greater control over car companies, banks, energy and health care.

Over-regulating employers won’t create more employment; overtaxing investors won’t foster more investment.

Top-down one-size fits all decision making should not replace the personal choices of free people in a free market, nor undermine the proper role of state and local governments in our system of federalism. As our Founders clearly stated, and we Governors understand, government closest to the people governs best.

And no government program can replace the actions of caring Americans freely choosing to help one another. The Scriptures say “To whom much is given, much will be required.” As the most generous and prosperous nation on Earth, it is heartwarming to see Americans giving much time and money to the people of Haiti. Thank you for your ongoing compassion.

Some people are afraid that America is no longer the great land of promise that she has always been. They should not be.

America will always blaze the trail of opportunity and prosperity.

America must always be a land where liberty and property are valued and respected, and innocent human life is protected.

Government should have this clear goal: Where opportunity is absent, we must create it. Where opportunity is limited, we must expand it. Where opportunity is unequal, we must make it open to everyone.

Our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to create this nation.

Now, we should pledge as Democrats, Republicans and Independents–Americans all-to work together to leave this nation a better place than we found it.

God Bless you, and God Bless our great nation.


soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Super Human

    I wonder did the gov of va use a TELEPROMPTER in front of his stacked HOUSE?

    January 27, 2010 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    We turned off our TV. I have heard enough whining and negative everything from the republicans to last me a lifetime.
    If you don't have a plan then try to work with what's put in front of you.

    January 27, 2010 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  3. IKHAN

    Republicans desperate attempt bordering on theatrical to in the spectacle of Bob McDonnel posing as delivering the SOU made me laugh.

    Tonite Obama showed the Americans that he is a true leader & gave them hope again to fulfill their aspirations. I am sure tonite we would see Americans rally behind their president.

    January 27, 2010 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  4. Not buying what he's selling

    America does not have the best medical healthcare in the world. What good is healthcare if you can't AFFORD it. This man, whoever he is, is an idiot.

    And that black parrot sitting on his shoulder, grinning like a chesscat, didn't impress me either. Whenever the Republicans or any politician for that matter want to fool Americans, they'll find a minority to fool the American people in thinking we're all in agreement, we're not.

    January 27, 2010 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  5. Eisener

    Why why why do we need cheaper energies? Why why why do we need to drill off shore? I do not get that – and in the same sentence as talking about energies of the future. That the past "my friend" as Senator Mccain would say.

    January 27, 2010 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  6. Citizen

    Did McDonnell go to central casting to get the people sitting behind him? One African-American, one Asian- American, one member of the military and a blonde. Two men, two women. How nice. The Republicans are pretending that they are diverse.

    January 27, 2010 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  7. Ryan

    The URL the Republicans gave out is crashing. They can't even manage a website, how will they manage anything having to do with government.

    Can anyone name one thing republicans have done for this country in the last 20 years?

    January 27, 2010 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Republicans are the reason we are in the shape we are in today. Instead if "whining" about what is going on today, why not agree that we all need to work together. The American people are tired of the partisan rhetoric, we want action from both parties without the finger pointing. Work for the American people, not the Republican or Democratic party. I repeat we are tired of the finger pointing. Get working together.

    January 27, 2010 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  9. Rick

    I feel like I am watching an infomercial. Is this guy going to sell an exercise program anytime soon.

    January 27, 2010 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  10. wayne

    why cant we republicans get someone I can connect with... Bob McDonnell was shallow, unpassionate and boring.. wake me up when he is done! zzzzzzzzzzzzz

    January 27, 2010 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  11. Aliou, Jacksonville, FL

    The guy looked and felt like GW Bush. Do we want to year from such a guy again?

    January 27, 2010 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  12. Craig

    Is smh at of the back drop set up of the GOP response to Obama's speech, having a uniformed soldier in the background send the wrong message to America!

    January 27, 2010 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  13. Turnabout is Fair Play

    The usual bullsh!t from the Republican'ts and that last statement is nothing but blasphemy against God coming from their mouths.

    January 27, 2010 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  14. S. T. Spivey

    Again the Republicans did not disappointment me. I am so tired of the lack of cooperation and the same tired old comments. I give up !! We as a people will never see the prosperity this country has experienced in the past because we refuse to work together.

    January 27, 2010 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  15. sameeker

    The republicans are oblivious to the fact that repealing regulations on banks and big business created this mess. This response demonstrates that the republicans are still embracing the arcane theory of trickle down economics. We have seen that this does not work. The republicans do not want government interference with big business; however, when big business wants tax cuts, bailouts and government assistance to increase profits, then they think it is fine for the government to interfere. You cant have it both ways.

    January 27, 2010 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  16. Sherry

    I hear all this about republican plans but I never see them where can we read these plans why can't you work with the president and democrats after all isn't it your job to work with each other instead all I hear is play ground bickering from both sides stop acting like children and do the job we sent you there to do ,

    January 27, 2010 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  17. Dan

    One thing I want to comment on. It makes me so mad when the right-wing compalins about terror suspects being given "the same legal rights as a U.S. citrizen". The bill of rights says that "NO PERSON" shall be denied the right to due process. It does not say "NO CITIZEN"!!! Case closed.

    January 27, 2010 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  18. vwrtb

    Its like reading Lord of the Flies! All fantasy...fiction can be fun huh cons? Republicans are delusional!

    January 27, 2010 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  19. Marcus

    'But most Americans do not want to turn over the best medical care system in the world to the federal government.'
    Is he serious?
    'Republicans in Congress have offered legislation to reform healthcare, without shifting Medicaid costs to the states, without cutting Medicare, and without raising your taxes.'
    Sorry, the legislation 'offered' lacked NUMBERS to back it up, except in the expected TAX CUTS part.
    Do I need to go on?

    January 27, 2010 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  20. Ronald E Miller

    Idon't think that McDonnel has a clue of whats going on in D.C. and i'm tired of the repugs LYING anyone who watches C-Span will know that they are LYING all they want is more of the same,cut taxes and give to the rich.

    January 28, 2010 01:37 am at 1:37 am |