Republicans running to replace President Barack Obama unsurprisingly blasted his final State of the Union address, saying it represented his administration’s failures and pledging that they would do better.
In a speech heavy on criticism of Republicans, nearly all the GOP candidates immediately pilloried it.
Donald Trump, the GOP front-runner, said he was just plain bored.
“The #SOTU speech is really boring, slow, lethargic – very hard to watch!” Trump tweeted.
Ted Cruz said Obama should have acknowledged the crisis unfolding in Iran.
“The fact that that happened in the first place is a direct consequence of the weakness of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy,” Cruz said in an interview on NBC News, saying the administration’s foreign policy was to stick their “head in the sand like ostriches.”
Marco Rubio, reacting to CNN’s Dana Bash before the speech, said he hoped Obama would not bring it up, given that the situation in Iran was developing.
“These sailors need to be released immediately,” said Rubio, who has positioned himself as the most hawkish GOP candidate in the field. He also said he did not make a special point to attend the speech given rivals’ criticisms of his Senate attendance record: “I thought it was important to be here.”
Rand Paul, who didn’t attend the speech, cut a five-minute video that he blasted reporters immediately after the address ended.
“What we saw was a leader with a record of failure in search of any meaningful positive legacy,” he said.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said in a statement Obama “pats himself on the back” and “glows and grins” about his record while that he “refuses to accept an ounce of responsibility” for his failures.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich pledged that he’d give a better speech in the future when his second term ends: “Eight years from now I look forward to giving a State of the Union that describes a stronger, safer and more united America,” he said in a statement.
Carly Fiorina, as she has for much of the campaign, made her reaction as much about Hillary Clinton as she did about Obama.
“We cannot elect Hillary Clinton to the White House. She has promised throughout her campaign to extend and expand Barack Obama’s failed policies,” she said in her statement.
Clinton, for her part, drew some contrast with Republicans who she sees as wanting to pave over Obama’s accomplishments.
“Seven years of progress. We need to build on it—not go backwards. #SOTU,” she tweeted.