- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Democratic presidential candidates Tuesday night lauded President Obama as he delivered his final State of the Union address, making the case that the progress seen over the last seven years would be undone if a Republican takes the White House.

Even as Mr. Obama was still speaking, Hillary Clinton’s campaign sent out a fundraising email praising the president’s leadership.

“I am so proud of what we’ve accomplished under President Obama’s leadership — if we win this election, you and I are going to build on his progress together,” the Clinton campaign fundraising email reads. “But there’s no guarantee we get that chance. The polls are tightening in Iowa and New Hampshire. If we don’t have the resources to win those key early states and then the nomination, the next State of the Union could be delivered by Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. This can’t wait. Chip in $1 tonight.”

Mrs. Clinton, Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley all took to Twitter to praise Mr. Obama and make the case that another Democrat must succeed him in 2017.

“America is better because of @POTUS’ leadership. Proud to call him my friend. Let’s build on his progress,” Mrs. Clinton tweeted, following it a few minutes later by saying, “Progress isn’t inevitable. We have a choice between pushing forward — or undoing all the work we’ve done.”

She also specifically praised the Affordable Care Act and said Americans cannot “put their health care into the hands of Republicans.”

For his part, Mr. O’Malley praised Mr. Obama’s economic record.

“FACT: Thanks to @POTUS’ leadership, we have seen 70 straight months of positive job growth. We are stronger today b/c of him,” he tweeted.

Mr. O’Malley also seconded the president’s call to strengthen Social Security and to provide tuition-free college to all Americans.

After the speech concluded, Mr. Sanders, who was in the House chamber for the speech, also praised the president.

“Tonight’s speech was important. The president reminded us not to be afraid of change, but to wield it to improve the lives of all Americans,” he tweeted.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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