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As Obama talks, Republicans fire back on Twitter

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lawmakers took to Twitter Tuesday night to agree with, bash and fact-check President Obama's State of the Union address in real time.

Republican members of Congress did most of the tweeting, disagreeing with many of Mr. Obama's assertions during the speech, including that unemployment is down and that the president has the power to go around Congress to get things done.

"Obama: 'I will take steps without legislation.' Your oath of office says no," Rep. Steve Stockman, Texas Republican, tweeted Tuesday night.

The president claimed that the unemployment rate is falling, but some GOP lawmakers said it's only because so many have dropped out of the workforce entirely.

"Obama just bragged unemployment rate is finally back down to what he inherited. And only b/c millions gave up finding work under Obama," Mr. Stockman tweeted.

Several Democratic lawmakers tweeted pictures of themselves prior to the speech wearing blue ribbons to show support for extending unemployment insurance, an idea from Rep. Sandy Levin, Michigan Democrat, to show solidarity with unemployed Americans who have been without benefits for one month.

"I'm wearing my blue ribbon, to stand in solidarity with the 1.6 million Americans who need Congress to #RenewUI," Mr. Kind tweeted.

Mr. Obama emphasized the need for long-term federal unemployment benefits to be extended, even though an effort to do so stalled in the Senate earlier this month, earning praise from Democrats online.

"Thank you @WhiteHouse for calling on Congress to #RenewUI. Too many long-term unemployed still need help," Rep. Frank Pallone, New Jersey Democrat, tweeted.

While Democrats were quieter than the GOP online during the speech, many on the left were supportive on Twitter of the president's call for education reform in his speech.

"Access to education key to opportunity at every level. #SOTU stresses workforce training, apprenticeships, comm colleges, STEM, early ed," Rep. Joe Kennedy III, Massachusetts Democrat, said.

Democrats also stated their agreement on Twitter with Mr. Obama's call for equal pay for women and men.

"The President is right - when women succeed, America succeeds. Time to close the wage gap and give women workers a fair shot," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida Democrat and Democratic National Committee chairwoman, tweeted.

One of the biggest social media events of the night happened before the president even arrived. Several GOP lawmakers tweeted photos with Willie Robertson, the "Duck Dynasty" star who attended the speech as a guest of Rep. Vance McAllister, Louisiana Republican. Mr. Robertson endorsed Mr. McAllister and stared in an ad for him leading up to the special election in Louisiana. or got autographs from Boss Hog, as Mr. Robertson is known on the show.

Sen. Lindsay Graham brought Korie Robertson, Mr. Robertson's wife, as his guest.

Despite the partisan bickering online, some lawmakers were able to step back and just enjoy being in the room for the annual tradition.

"The #SOTU never gets old," Sen. Chris Murphy, Connecticut Democrat, tweeted while walking into the chamber.

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