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January 29th, 2014

State of the Union By the Numbers and Iowa Republican Reaction

The relevance and details of President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union speech are perhaps best found in the numbers. Below is numerical breakdown of the relevant statistics of the annual ritual:

6,581-Total number of words in President Obama’s prepared speech

65:07-Total amount of time President Obama spoke

63:52-Average length of Obama’s State of the Union addresses

2-Obama’s ranking in terms of delivering the longest SOTUs

1-President Clinton’s ranking in that same category

92-Times President Obama referred to himself in 2014 SOTU

71-Times President Obama said, “I”, “I’m” or “I’ve” when referencing himself

21-Time President Obama said “My” or “Me” when referencing himself

80-Times the speech was interrupted by applause

40-Standing ovations from Congress and attendees

21-Standing ovations from Democrats only

19-Bipartisan standing ovations

3-Times the speech was interrupted by laughter

7-Executive actions President Obama revealed he would enact, going around Congress

0-Provisions and statues in the U.S. Constitution that explicitly permit executive orders

1-Number of focus groups organized by the cable network in Iowa. CNN gathered a couple dozen Iowans at the State Historical Building in Des Moines to provide their insights of the SOTU speech.

0-Number of insightful questions CNN’s reporter asked the Des Moines focus group.

Here are thoughts on the speech from some of Iowa’s elected Republicans and congressional candidates:

Senator Chuck Grassley

“The Constitution created three branches of the federal government and checks and balances among the branches that are fundamental to our strength as a nation.  Based on that, the President should use his pen and phone to build coalitions on Capitol Hill and sign legislation into law, not issue executive orders that Congress and the American people don’t support.

“The President spoke about inequality.  Congress and the President should find common ground and create economic growth that builds people up.  We ought to reform the tax code to close loopholes and give job creators the certainty and confidence to expand, hire and raise wages.  We can’t tax and spend our way to prosperity through government.

“The President should work with Congress to renew Trade Promotion Authority so we have more places around the world to export what we make and grow in Iowa and other states.

“The President should promote energy independence and new jobs by approving the Keystone Pipeline and faithfully executing the 2007 federal law that created the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“Together, we should strengthen the patent system to clear the way for entrepreneurs and inventors to create, innovate and grow minus the patent trolls who abuse the system with frivolous lawsuits.

“Washington should first try to get the most bang for the buck out of existing programs before rushing to create more.  For example, too many housing dollars go to executives and bureaucrats instead of people in need.  The IRS whistleblower office is limping along, when it could be helping to collect billions of tax dollars that are already due.  The Justice Department could criminally prosecute Wall Street executives who defraud consumers instead of settling for pennies on the dollar.  The IRS could make public disclosures from colleges and other major tax-exempt groups more readily available or maybe even require more disclosure in exchange for their tax exemption so executive perks and other spending that contributes to college costs receives scrutiny.

“If the President is willing to work with Congress, there are a number of areas where we can work together to create economic growth and get more from the taxpayer dollars already in the U.S. treasury.”

Congressman Steve King

U.S. Senate candidate Sam Clovis

“When are we going to hear solid, constructive solutions to the very problems this President and his administration have created. Perhaps at no other time in American history has a chief executive shown such disdain for the rule of law, the Constitution or the American people. We are not stupid and no one is buying what he continues to try to sell.”

“The President is not believable and has lost the trust of the American people.”

“This administration, through its ineptitude and neglect, has created an environment of uncertainty for all Americans. The role of government should be to remove uncertainty, enhance liberty and allow every American to reach his or her potential. Quite the opposite is taking place in every home and family today. This is wrong, unpatriotic and immoral.”

“The current environment that seems to reward politicians, regardless of party, who seem content to be part of the ruling class needs to be changed. And every time we elect someone who wants to be part of the current system, we endorse further erosion of liberty. We, the people, must be offered choices in those seeking office who will have the will and courage to do what is best for the nation. In this race, that person is me.”

“I agree with Senator Mike Lee when he said that the new inequality comes from government every time it takes something from the people and forcefully redistributes those benefits to others. This is contrary to everything we value. This is not a monarchy. This government of soft tyranny is destroying liberty every day.”

“I will be that U.S. Senator who will listen to my constituents, vote with their best interests in mind and do what is best for the country.”

U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst

U.S. Senate candidate Mark Jacobs

“President Obama’s rhetoric tonight does not match his record. If President Obama truly wants opportunity for all Americans, he needs to take a 180 degree turn from his current policies.

“Creating real opportunity for Americans starts with repealing Obamacare and reforming healthcare, tackling this Administration’s job killing regulations, implementing a competitive tax policy, and expanding domestic energy production – including renewables.”

U.S. Senate candidate Matt Whitaker

Third Congressional District candidate Matt Schultz

“Bypassing Congress is no solution to fixing the problems in Washington. Restoring the promise of America is not done by executive order. Once again the President comes to the American people with false promises and few solutions to our problems.  In Congress, I will provide a stark contrast to the President by fighting to repeal Obama’s unaffordable healthcare law and replace it with a free market solution. To fix Washington I will sponsor Constitutional amendments to balanced the federal budget and require term limits for the United States Congress.”

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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