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Colorado Congressmen Respond To Obama’s Speech

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Vice President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama, Speaker Of The House John Boehner (credit: CBS)

Vice President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama, Speaker Of The House John Boehner (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) - Colorado Rep.s Ed Perlmutter and Corey Gardner joined the CBS4 Morning News on Wednesday to discuss their reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union speech.

There were three primary focuses in the speech. Obama keyed on creating jobs, improving education and dealing with the deficit.

On the issue of jobs, Obama talked about the importance of encouraging innovation for the future. He compared it to beating the Soviets to the moon.

“This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago I said we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology and especially clean energy technology,” Obama said.

To achieve change, the President encouraged cooperation and compromise between parties. As a symbolic gesture, for the first time in history, members of Congress didn’t all sit with their parties.

Mr. Obama said it’s the kind of compromise that will get things done.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter said he thinks that the President’s goal to move beyond party lines is realistic.

“Well, I certainly think it’s possible. We do have tough challenges and we’re going to have to try a number of different things to reach some compromises,” Perlmutter said.

While Gardner agreed that moving the economy forward and creating jobs is the No. 1 priority, he said the idea was old hat.

“The President also said that last year that that was his No. 1 priority. Unfortunately what I think I heard in the speech was a lot of the same kind of policies that have failed over the past year, and I don’t know how more spending is going to do anything different over the next two years,” Gardner said.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the House Budget Committee Chair, expressed the Republican sentiment that the President’s proposal doesn’t do enough to get the budget under control.

“Endless borrowing is not a strategy, budget cuts have to come first,” Ryan said.

Gardner agreed with Ryan and disagreed with additional spending. He focused on the president’s goal to invest more in high speed rail. He said idea is something the country can’t afford.

“Within 25 years our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high speed rail. This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to go by car,” Obama said.

Gardner said the goal is to cut spending not to spend more.

“It’s not the time for that. We’ve got to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to balance the budget, to move our country toward a balanced budget. I didn’t even hear any talk about a balanced budget amendment,” Gardner said.

Perlmutter said he does believe that the President is on the right track to help the economy.

“I think the most important thing to do is jobs, and the president really hit on that, and the best way to reduce the deficit is to have people working and paying taxes because there is two sides to the budget. There is the revenue side and there is the expense side so it’s going to take increasing revenue and that’s getting people back to work as well as really managing our expenses,” Perlmutter said.

Perlmutter said Obama’s goal to reduce troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is one area where there can be a huge savings.

“The President talked about reducing troops by 100,000, that’s $100 billion a year just in Iraq,” Perlmutter said.

On Wednesday the President hit the road to promote his State of the Union message.

The President headed to Wisconsin to visit a renewable energy plant. He’s set to explain to workers how they will benefit from plans he laid out in the speech.

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