Reaction Mixed to Clinton's State of the Union Address

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

( - Reaction was mixed late Thursday night to President Clinton's State of the Union address to Congress.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) said, " Tonight President Bill Clinton gave the nation his 'wish list' for this session of the Congress. There are many things we can accomplish if the President decides to work with us. But, if the President is forced by House democrats to cast aside bipartisan cooperation in favor of election-year politics, the result will be gridlock and a failed agenda.

"As Washington digs out of the latest winter blizzard, the Congress dig out of an avalanche of Presidential spending initiatives. We will sift through the President's requests and make a determination of what is necessary and what is not. Fiscal responsibility is still the hallmark of this Congress, and we will not use the current surplus as an excuse to go on a government spending spree.

"I look forward to working with the President to achieve a common sense agenda based on the sound principles of fiscal responsibility and compassionate conservatism," Hastert said.

Congressman Howard Coble (R-NC), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told, "The President reminds us of how sound the economy is, and it is indeed sound, but a part of that soundness must be attributed to the Republican majority in this town since 1995.

"We have spent millions of dollars less to operate the Congress than the Democrats did before we assumed the majority.

"When the President came into office eight years ago, he said his administration would be the most ethical in history. It's probably been one of the most corrupt in history. I think he's let us down," Coble said.

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-CO) said of Clinton's State of the Union address: "There is an extensive laundry list here that, from where I sit, in an election year we ought to be able to fashion something good for the American public.

"I'm afraid in part it's a little overwhelming in terms of sheer breadth of it, but that's the pressure he's got to try and sort of get everything out in his last shot before Congress and the American people," Blumenauer said.

Representative Bob Ethridge (D-NC) said of the President's State of the Union message, "I think it's been a very good one. He laid out a positive image for the American families. He talked about education, an issue I think we need to deal with.

"He talked about helping our farmers. He talked about maintaining our priorities and keeping our commitments to our seniors. I think he's laid out a very positive agenda that we can take (under consideration), and if Congress will act in a bipartisan manner, we can get a lot done this year," Ethridge said.

Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) reacted to Clinton's State of the Union message by saying, "It's the best pro-family State of the Union I've ever heard. He knocked this one out of the park. He laid out an aggressive, progressive agenda for us to follow in the future. It was very pro-family, pro-environment."

President Clinton's entire State of the Union address lasted 89 minutes, by far his longest and most sweeping annual message to Congress during his eight-year administration.