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Washington D.C.: State of Union critics, backers sound off

11:50 PM, Feb 12, 2013   |    comments
President Obama during the 2013 State of the Union address. Photo by Charles Dharapak, AFP/Getty Images.
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WASHINGTON D.C. -- President Barack Obama said early in his State of the Union speech that Republicans and Democrats and citizens of different beliefs can be "rivals for power or partners in progress."

He offered numerous ambitious proposals in his remarks that began drawing critical comments even before his speech was over.

The President suggested raising the minimum wage to $9/hour from its present $7.25/hour.

He proposed a program to make infrastructure repairs that would create jobs, sounding reminiscent of the Depression-era WPA.

He advocated plans to remake American high schools and offer pre-kindergarten preschool to all four-year-olds.

He reintroduced efforts at climate control as an agenda item.

Some of his ideas will remind many of controversial and costly stimulus programs. The actual costs of his proposals will come out in his proposed budget.

A group representing young Americans, called Generational Opportunity, said his speech suggested sustaining a "bloated and out of control government stealing prosperity" because of anticipated program costs.

The Employment Policies Institute said the President's minimum wage proposal would kill hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur called the speech "inspiring" for its proposals on gun control and immigration.

Some pundits say that the President's ideas might get more serious consideration from Republicans since it's not an election year.

The President will visit three states over the next two days, taking his proposal directly to the people.

The next big looming crisis for the President and Congress to deal with -- massive budget cuts scheduled to begin in 15 days.


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