Speaking on the Senate floor hours before the State of the Union, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., preemptively slammed President Obama’s annual address, saying he is already disappointed in the speech.
The president is scheduled to deliver the nationally televised speech in the House chamber Tuesday, and several reports have signaled it will focus on the economy. According to White House aides, Mr. Obama is expected to frame the address as a “make or break” moment for the middle-class while covering accomplishments and proposing a number of ambitious proposals for the future.
McConnell says lawmakers welcome the president to the Capitol, but that Mr. Obama is more interested in winning re-election than working with Congress and fixing the economy.
“Based on what the president’s aides have been telling reporters, the goal isn’t to conquer the nation’s problems. It’s to conquer Republicans. The goal isn’t to prevent gridlock, but to guarantee it,” he says.
The president is expected to tell viewers the economy is on the right track, and has created 3.2 million private sector jobs over past two years. Though specifics haven’t been released, political observers speculate Mr. Obama will outline plans to aid homeowners, boost manufacturing and continue a call for higher taxes on wealthier Americans.
But McConnell says the president has failed to kick-start the economy after three years in office, citing the decision to block the Keystone pipeline as job creating project as a key failure.
“The President will tell the American people tonight that he’s got a blueprint for the economy. What he fails to mention is that we’ve been working off the president’s blueprint for three years,” he says. “And what’s it gotten us: millions still looking for work, trillions in debt, and the first credit downgrade in U.S. history.”
Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid, D-Nv., says he hopes GOP lawmakers listen to the address and take Mr. Obama’s proposals to heart.