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San Diego Republicans, Democrats React To Obama’s State Of The Union

Ron Nehring, a Republican strategist and former Chairman of the California Republican Party, and Francine Busby, chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, talk to KPBS about their responses to the State of the Union.

Ron Nehring, Republican Strategist, former Chairman of the California Republican Party

Francine Busby, Chair, San Diego County Democratic Party


Photo credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama waits with Sergeants at Arms and Members of Congress before entering the House Chamber to deliver the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Feb. 12, 2013. Standing with the President are, from left: Paul Irving, House Sergeant at Arms: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.; Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif; and Terrance Gainer, Senate Sergeant at Arms. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Text of State of the Union

Full Text of President Obama's Speech

GOP Response

San Diego Response

Congresswoman Susan Davis response to State of the Union.

Rep. Darrell Issa's response

The merits of the president's State of the Union address are, like so much of politics these days, in the eyes of the beholder. Democrats praised President Barack Obama's vision. Republicans, especially in their official response, criticized that vision as more big government.

San Diego is a long way from Washington D.C. -- does what the president had to say during his speech resonate in our region?

Ron Nehring, a Republican strategist and former chairman of the California Republican Party, told KPBS he heard a lot about more investment in government-directed industrial policy.

"But what we don't hear from the president are the types of things that really improve America's competitiveness," he said. "He said nothing about the job-dampening effects that his Obamacare health care legislation is doing."

Nehring also said Obama's continued push for higher taxes on those who create jobs is a dangerous signal for the economy.

Francine Busby, chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, said Obama spoke very clearly about rebuilding the middle class.

"There were three particular points he made. One is education. You know, some schools in San Diego do very well, and others struggle," she said. "And having a pre-K age group going to school would certainly give a head start to those kids. We know it's the biggest bang for the buck. We need a highly educated population here."

One of the biggest announcements in the speech for San Diego is that 34,000 troops will be coming home from Afghanistan in the next 12 months and the war in Afghanistan will be over at the end of 2014.

Nehring said Republicans support a policy that "our troops should come back at a time the mission is accomplished."

"The timetable shouldn't be a particular year," he said. "We don't want our troops in Afghanistan. I was in Pakistan a year and a half ago. It's not a region we want our folks to be. But the mission has to be accomplished."

Claire Trageser contributed to this report.

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