- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 28, 2010

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell says in the Republican response to the State of the Union address that the nation cannot afford the spending Democrats have enacted or the tax increases they propose.

Mr. McDonnell, in excerpts of his speech released in advance, said Democratic policies are resulting in an unsustainable level of debt. He said Americans want affordable health care, but they don’t want the government to run it.

Mr. McDonnell was expected to deliver the Republican response after President Obama’s speech Wednesday evening live from the Virginia House of Delegates in Richmond before a friendly audience of about 300.

In a new twist for Republicans, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida Republican, will tape a Spanish-language version of the Republican response. Mr. Diaz-Balart’s speech will be carried by Spanish-language media.

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans say Mr. Obama ought to do more than change his message - he should also change the course of his presidency.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, called Mr. Obama’s proposal for a partial spending freeze a good start. But, he added, Mr. Obama should also abandon big spending proposals on health care, climate change and jobs.

“This isn’t about a pivot in terms of his message,” Mr. Boehner said. “I think that most Americans know that actions speak louder than words.”

Republicans are feeling emboldened following a string of GOP victories at the polls, including a stunning win by Republican Scott Brown last week in the special Massachusetts Senate election. Since then, Mr. Obama has amped up his populist rhetoric and promised a renewed focus on job creation.

“We are looking to hear from this president, not just a change in message but, frankly, an admission that the agenda being pursued is not one that brings us back to recovery,” said House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia.

Congressional Republicans said they welcome the focus on jobs, but they aren’t about to abandon what they believe has been a winning strategy: opposing expensive proposals by Democrats, even those aimed at creating jobs.

“One of the reasons people are so angry this year, they look at what we’re doing and they don’t think it has any connection to what they think we ought to be doing,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “That’s a curable problem. All the majority needs to do is go in a different direction.”

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