Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
GOP criticizes Obama's vision
BY ROSALIND S. HELDERMAN, The Washington Post
WASHINGTON -- Republicans chose Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a fresh new face of the party, to respond to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday.
But if the messenger was new, the message Rubio offered was back-to-basics, a recommitment of the party to traditional conservative notions of economic growth.
He argued low taxes, limited regulations and smaller government would free the economy from the shackles of big government he contended Obama offered in his own address.
But the Florida senator focused sharply on how such ideas could boost the middle class and improve the lives of individual people, part of a new Republican effort to more clearly connect their visions with the problems of ordinary Americans.
"Mr. President, I don't oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich," he said. "I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors. Hard-working middle-class Americans who don't need us to come up with a plan to grow the government."
Convinced Obama would repeat the liberal tone of his second inaugural address last month at the State of the Union, Rubio offered no sense of a party humbled by its November losses, instead advancing a strong defense of Republican values.
He called for a balanced budget amendment to force Washington to reduce spending and accused Obama of an "obsession" with raising taxes rather than tackling growing deficits through spending cuts or economic growth.