President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
By Sarah Beckman and Stephanie Pawlowski
WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Barack Obama addressed multiple audiences and several items for the White House in his State of the Union address Tuesday night.
The president touched on the struggling economy and offered new proposals such as increasing the minimum wage and guaranteeing preschool.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) said President Obama had a lot of good bipartisan points, but said the devil is in the details.
"He's great with the rhetoric, he was great delivering that speech, but he doesn't have a good track record and his administration doesn't have a good track record of putting these plans into legislation that they know is passable and that are good, common sense, bipartisan solutions," Davis said.
Davis said there are a number of the president’s proposals he can agree with including repairs to roads and bridges and an all-of-the-above approach to domestic energy.
Davis also said he had the chance to talk to President Obama for a 'good amount of time' after the State of the Union address. He said he told the president he'd like to take him up on the offer to come by the White House to discuss issues. Davis said that discussion would be about bipartisan solutions.
"I want to be able to work with him and work with our leadership and find those common ground solutions just like we've seen with past presidents, past Congresses," Davis said. "Let's go big. Let's get another balanced budget agreement like in 1997, when no one thought that President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich could."
Davis said he'd give the president an A-grade on his speech for the rhetoric, but a C on proposals.
U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) said even though Obama gave attention to the economy, he is still frustrated with the lack of emphasis on job creation during the president's past four years.
"While the President said he is refocused on the economy tonight, he then immediately diverted from those words and began pressing a litany of social issues," said Schock. "Though important, [these issues] are not nearly as vital as using this time to avert another recession."
Gov. Quinn (D-Ill.), on the other hand, commended the president's agenda for the economy.
"As the President made clear tonight, cuts alone will not bring us to prosperity," said Quinn. "We must reduce our deficit by taking a balanced approach that includes both reforms and closing loopholes. Making crucial investments in areas like education, infrastructure, and manufacturing will pay dividends in the future, creating more jobs and growing the middle class."
President Obama also discussed the need to bring both Democrats and Republicans together in order to solve the country's biggest problems. U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, (R-Ill.) does not believe the president took advantage of the opportunity to bring forward new ideas on bipartisanship.
“That's something that was sorely missing here tonight-the discussion of what will happen to the next generation of Americans," said Kinzinger. "Unfortunately, President Obama once again descended back into more partisan rhetoric that only divides the nation rather than unites our country to conquer our spending addiction and gets us back on the path toward prosperity.
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said in order for the country to move forward, political differences need to be addressed and solved.
"If we can put aside our political differences and work together to pass a long-term solution, we would avoid the pending sequester and send a strong signal to our creditors that America remains a stable place to conduct business," Kirk said.
Touching on President Obama's comments on the need for tighter gun control, Kirk said the nation should work together to reduce gun violence.
"I am proud to sponsor legislation with New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to dry up the supply of illegal weapons to dangerous drug gangs which are responsible for 80% of homicides in Chicago each year. Additionally, I believe we can pass a universal background check bill this year to keep guns away from criminals and the mentally ill, while protecting law-abiding citizens," Kirk said.
The portion of President Obama's speech highlighting the families of recent tragedies such as Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Ct. got the largest and longest applause from Congress and the State of the Union audience Tuesday night.