Republicans warned Tuesday that President Obama’s second-term agenda would bring more tax increases and escalate deficit spending, vowing that the GOP would guard against Washington-centric policies and help middle-class families rebound from years of tepid economic growth.
Republicans responded to Obama’s State of the Union address with fresh appeals to voters on the economy, promises to rein in federal spending and address the future of entitlement programs like Medicare. The party sought to portray itself as an alternative source of policies to grow the economy after the president swept to reelection in November.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, delivering the Republican response, urged Obama to “abandon his obsession with raising taxes” and said the president had shifted the nation away from free-market economic principles that had helped middle-class families achieve prosperity.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, in a separate tea party response, said both parties had failed voters by driving up trillion-dollar deficits.
Rubio appeared to wipe away sweat during his rebuttal from the speaker’s conference room in the U.S. Capitol. At one point, he reached out with his left hand and took a small swig from a Poland Spring water bottle. As the incident generated heavy attention on Twitter, Rubio later tweeted a photo of the water bottle.
Rubio, a rising star in his party and potential 2016 candidate, pointed to his Miami roots to address Obama’s frequent portrayal of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney – and his party – as only caring about the wealthiest Americans. Rubio said he still lived in the “same working-class neighborhood I grew up in” and his neighbors “aren’t millionaires” but retirees, workers and immigrants.
Rubio prerecorded the same speech in Spanish for Spanish-language networks, a nod to Republicans who have said that they must address their deficit with Hispanic voter.
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