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Republican Candidates Dismiss Obama's Address as Out of Touch

  • Chris Hannas

FILE - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

FILE - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The candidates running to take over the White House had predictable reactions to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night, with Republicans calling it boring and out of touch with events in the world and Democrats praising the president's record.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump said the speech was lethargic and "hard to watch."

"The State of the Union speech was one of the most boring, rambling, and non-substantive I have heard in a long time," Trump wrote on Twitter. "New leadership fast!"

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who has been climbing in polls in the past two months, called Obama's speech "a state of denial."

Cruz said Obama diminished the threat posed by Islamic State and failed to mention last year's terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

"I will apologize to nobody for my commitment to kill the terrorists," Cruz told MSNBC. He has proposed "carpet bombing" Islamic State, one of the comments by Republicans during their campaign that Obama referenced in his address.

"The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians," Obama said. He also referred to some American's fears about a changing country, and to those who promise to "restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control."

Trump can often be seen at his campaign events with a hat declaring, "Make America great again!"

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Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has been narrowing the gap in the Democratic race with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, shared Obama's sentiment.

"Tonight's speech was important," he said. "The president reminded us not to be afraid of change, but to wield it to improve the lives of all Americans."

Clinton focused on the domestic issues in the speech, tweeting a large picture thanking Obama and his "seven years of progress," and saying the country to needs to build on that instead of going backwards.

"[Obama] has kept the economy strong and the country safe," Clinton said. "That's what the president needs to do. That's the job."

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush did not see Obama's claims about the strength of the American economy and the safety of its people in the same light.

"President Obama is living in a different world to think our country is safer and stronger," Bush said. "The economy might be the best this president can do, but it's not the best America can do."

Obama's address included a section on tackling global warming as part of an overall theme of creating jobs, saving money and preserving the planet.

But neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who briefly topped Republican polls in November before falling sharply, said Obama should spend less time worrying about global warming and put more of a focus on defeating Islamic State. He also faulted the president for "complaining" about global warming instead of discussing 10 U.S. Navy personnel detained by Iran earlier in the day.

The candidates have less than three weeks until the first contest in the nomination process in Iowa on February 1. Each party will hold one debate before then, with the Republicans debating Thursday and the Democrats on Sunday. The nominees from each party will face off in the general election in November.