Eric Cantor
Harry Hamburg  /  AP
Then-House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia makes a statement to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 25, 2010.
By
updated 1/24/2011 6:03:38 PM ET 2011-01-24T23:03:38

Republicans say they want to hear less about everything they've been hearing for the past two years when President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address.

Less spending and less of a government hand in trying to solve America's problems, GOP lawmakers said on the talks shows Sunday, two days ahead of Obama's speech.

More about anything? Yes, reducing the federal debt.

Top House Republican downplays Bachmann SOTU response
  1. Other political news of note
    1. Animated Boehner: 'There's nothing complex about the Keystone Pipeline!'

      House Speaker John Boehner became animated Tuesday over the proposed Keystone Pipeline, castigating the Obama administration for not having approved the project yet.

    2. Budget deficits shrinking but set to grow after 2015
    3. Senate readies another volley on unemployment aid
    4. Obama faces Syria standstill
    5. Fluke files to run in California

"The president needs to pivot," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "He obviously saw what happened in the November election and is trying to go on a different direction."

Story: Obama urges cooperation and innovation

In his own preview, Obama told supporters in a video released Saturday that he will focus on economic issues, particularly jobs, as the economic recovery creeps along and unemployment hovers above 9 percent. His references to investing in educating workers and in research and technology set off alarms for Republicans.

"Any time they want to spend, they call it investment, so I think you will hear the president talk about investing a lot Tuesday night," McConnell said. "We'll take a look at his recommendations. We always do. But this is not a time to be looking at pumping up government spending in very many areas."

Story: As State of the Union nears, Congress plays musical chairs
    1. Animated Boehner: 'There's nothing complex about the Keystone Pipeline!'

      House Speaker John Boehner became animated Tuesday over the proposed Keystone Pipeline, castigating the Obama administration for not having approved the project yet.

    2. Budget deficits shrinking but set to grow after 2015
    3. Senate readies another volley on unemployment aid
    4. Obama faces Syria standstill
    5. Fluke files to run in California
    6. Christie acknowledges federal subpoena
    7. Obama says Fox News's O'Reilly 'absolutely' unfair in extended interview
    8. Christie security officer hit with shoplifting charges
  1. More politics
    1. Obama's 2nd year
      AP
    2. Political Cartoons

The second-ranking House Republican, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, said Obama should focus less on Washington-based initiatives and more on policies that allow individuals to make their own decisions.

"We want America to be competitive, but then he talks about investing," Cantor said. "When we hear 'invest' from anyone in Washington, to me that means more spending. ... The investment needs to occur in the private sector."

Cantor said the Republican push to cut spending — he repeated the GOP pledge to find $100 billion in budget reductions — would mean that all programs would be subject to review, including defense programs.

Video: Obama preps for State of the Union (on this page)

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he looks forward to Obama's message on spending as well as his efforts to pass free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea as a different route to creating jobs in the U.S.

"I think there's going to be a number of areas that we can at least find common ground on," McCain said.

The second-ranking Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, warned against being "so laser-focused on the deficit that we ignore the obvious" such as education and competitiveness.

  1. Most popular

As part of the call for civility in political discourse that followed the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., some lawmakers have sought to cross the aisle — literally — and sit with members of the opposing party during the address. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said he will be calling his colleagues in search of a seat mate.

"When I was in high school, I always waited too long before the prom to ask for a date, so I haven't done that yet," Lieberman said. "This is symbolic, but it sends a good message. We've really got to do more of this."

McConnell and Durbin spoke on "Fox News Sunday" while Cantor appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press." McCain spoke on CBS' "Face the Nation and Lieberman on ABC's "This Week."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Economy gets top billing as Obama eyes address

  1. Closed captioning of: Economy gets top billing as Obama eyes address

    >>> to politics now, and tuesday's state of the union address , president obama will set his agenda for the next year with issues this will likely define the rest of his term as he approaches his re-election bid. nbc's mike viqueira is at the white house for us tonight. mike?

    >> reporter: good evening, lester it has been a year of slow growth and high unemployment since the president's last state of the union address . now as he prepares that speech for tuesday night, the economy remains job one. president obama will propose new spending on infrastructure, education and research, but with major debates republicans coming soon on deficits and the national debt , mr. obama will also put forward spending cuts. today, the gop backed dramatic action.

    >> with to have go after the sacred cows and then we have to go after entitlements and entitlements have to be on the table sooner rather than later.

    >> reporter: that includes social security where republicans propose raising the retirement age.

    >> anyone 55 and older in this country has got to know that their social security benefits will not be changed. it is for all the younger people, those 54 and younger, we are going to have to have a serious discussion.

    >> reporter: economy and the deficit top the list of issues voters most want to address in the state of the union . at number four is health care . today, the republican leader in the senate vowed to force a vote on repeal while conceding the effort is likely to fail.

    >> and we need to try to repeal it overall and then go back after it piece by piece and try to do what we can to keep it from being implemented.

    >> reporter: and lester, it maybe a symbolic bipartisan gesture, but tuesday night, instead of squaring off, a lot of political opponents will be pairing off, sitting side by side to take in the president's speech. lesser?

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments