Readers on SOTU: Obama's Address was 'Lofty,' 'Forward-Thinking,' 'Disingenuous'

Yahoo Contributor Network
President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gestures as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
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President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gestures as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

Guns. Jobs. Energy. Technology. Climate. Education. Transportation. President Barack Obama touched on these issues and more during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night. What did viewers think? Yahoo News asked them for their quick-hit responses. Here's a sampling of their reaction that they wrote after the address.

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Lofty, for sure, but short on specifics: The big question that remains after Obama's State of the Union address is: How? He presented some lofty ideas without a real explanation of how they can be implemented.

The best idea I heard was his "Fix It First" program. It sure sounds a lot like Roosevelt's New Deal package from the 1930s. Its programs put people to work in the Great Depression. They worked for an honest wage while improving structures and parks in their communities. That type of program is long overdue here in present-day America! It's time to stop writing unemployment checks and start making jobs for those who can and who want to work. It's time to stop funding the lifestyles of people who simply don't want a job.

The biggest joke of the evening? The home refinance plan.

-- Ronna Ross Pennington, Arkadelphia, Ark.

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Move forward on tomorrow's tech: Two phrases in President Obama's State of the Union address jumped out at me -- "brain mapping" and "clean energy." These are phrases it is hard to imagine Mitt Romney having used if he had won the election.

The State of the Union is typically long on rhetoric and short on specifics, and Obama's most recent was no exception. However, his mention of the need for the government to actively support emerging technologies, such as brain mapping and clean energy, shows an understanding of where the world is heading.

Beyond offering hope for humanity, leading-edge technology areas like brain mapping and clean energy offer huge potential sources of revenue down the road -- the kind of revenue that will more than make upfront investment worthwhile. Ultimately the two parties offer a choice between accepting the future and clinging to the past, and no country ever moved forward by looking backward.

-- Dan Berthiaume, Haverhill, Mass.

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Be wary of politicizing gun deaths: Obama spoke about gun control, and he saved the best for last. I am undecided on the issue, but I do know that, statistically, 27 deaths in a year do not make a difference. However, when you personalize a death, be it one, or 27, it speaks to our sympathies. No one wants to see people murdered, at least I don't. What I do want is a politician who can see the underlying issue and not the headline. That is what bothers me so much about the politicizing of the Newtown tragedy; after all, I live in Connecticut and don't think that in my lifetime, the tragedy will ever be forgotten.

-- Morris Armstrong, Danbury, Conn.

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Education is central to success: My daughter will be entering preschool next year. I'm in college right now, getting my graduate degree. And I come from a family of educators; my mother is a teacher and my grandmother was a teacher's aide, and I'm studying to be a special education teacher.

Obama did a good job of emphasizing the importance of a quality education to the health of our nation. He spoke of how a better education system can keep jobs in America and ultimately help improve the economy. Children truly are a country's biggest resource; raise and educate them well, and you have a solid foundation for a successful next generation.

Part of education reform in this country is to make sure teachers have good job prospects and adequate salaries, thus improving job performance, and this is one issue I felt was lacking in the State of the Union address.

-- Vanessa Bartlemus, New York

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Will call for bipartisanship work?: I was struck most by his call for congressional action. In his opening remarks, Obama quoted John F. Kennedy: "The Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress." The president went on to ask for bipartisan cooperation in addressing issues, such as creating new jobs, helping families refinance their mortgages, redesigning America's high schools, and increasing the minimum wage. When it came to immigration reform, President Obama challenged Congress to send him a bill, saying, "Let's get this done."

I will be watching to see if Congress can, in fact, get anything done. President Obama said, "The American people don't expect government to solve every problem. They don't expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation's interests before party."

Yes, President Obama, we do.

-- Tarissa Helms, Lee's Summit, Mo.

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Veterans' issues hit close to home: President Obama's fifth State of the Union address was his most ambitiously forward-thinking yet. Here in San Diego, the mention of a need to ensure our veterans get access to world-class medical treatment -- including mental health treatment -- will be very important news. Thanks to the Marine and Navy facilities in our county, veterans' affairs hit very close to home.

Also of interest in my local region: the proposal by the president to raise minimum wage to $9, which is a full dollar more than the state's minimum wage is now. In a county where the cost of living often outstrips the median income like ours, every dollar truly counts.

-- James Schlarmann, San Diego

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Manufacturing resurrection is key: He called on the country to "reignite the true engine of America's economic growth-- a rising, thriving middle class." He noted that while corporate profits continue to rise, the minimum wage has remained stagnant over the past decade. His agenda includes the American Jobs Act, which aims to assist job growth without increasing the federal budget, and bringing many modern manufacturing jobs to the United States. This change would be greatly welcomed in my home city, Newport, R.I., where unemployment remains around 10 percent.

-- Eric Jonathan Martin, Newport, R.I.

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Do domestic drone targets deserve a vote?: He invoked the memory of high-profile victims of gun violence and led the chorus of support with a "they deserve a vote" rally cry.

I found it somewhat disingenuous that President Obama would choose to rally his supporters by saying that they deserve a vote. This is a very populist angle, an angle that seems fundamentally at odds with another recent hot-button issue his administration is facing, an issue that he chose to avoid tonight.

The issue of the president's "kill list" has drawn criticism from even some of his staunchest supporters. It has drawn the ire of conservatives and liberals alike. A Department of Justice memo that leaked revealed the fact that the White House is practicing a tyrannical form of pre-emptive strikes against our very own citizens. The president apparently feels it is OK to assassinate an American citizen if they are deemed a threat to our nation's security. The problem here is that the guidelines are sketchy at best and that it places some very strong powers, with potentially dire consequences, in the hands of one man in a government that is supposedly bound by a system of checks and balances.

-- S.W. Hampson, New Orleans

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