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Republican 2016 Field Pans Obama's Final State of the Union Speech


"a leader with a record of failure in search of any meaningful positive legacy"

Republican presidential candidates on stage during the CNN presidential debate at The Venetian Las Vegas, Dec. 15, 2015. (Getty Images/Ethan Miller)

The field of Republican contenders to deliver next year's State of the Union speech were harsh critics of President Barack Obama's final annual address to the nation Tuesday.

In television interviews, emailed statements and on Twitter, the 2016 presidential candidates on the GOP side argued that the president's speech painted a rosier picture of Obama's seven years in office than is accurate.

"The President continues to be in denial of reality," Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-Texas) said in a statement. "He would have us believe that global warming is our greatest threat, our military is as strong as it can be, the economy is working for American families, and that the key to alleviating poverty is more government dependence. The reality is very different."

Cruz added that Obama "lectures us on civility yet has been one of the most divisive presidents in American history."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) dashed out of the speech to do an interview on Fox with Megyn Kelly, in which he argued that Obama understated the threat posed by the Islamic State. Earlier today, Obama said that there are no "existential threats" to the U.S., including ISIS.

Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner, focused most of his criticism on the pacing of the speech.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said in a statement that Obama is wrong if he labels the happenings of his tenure as accomplishments.

"He pats himself on the back for giving us an Affordable Care Act no one can afford," Huckabee said. "He glows and grins about an economy that's punching millions of Americans in the gut. And he  refuses to accept an ounce of responsibility for his epic foreign policy disasters. Set aside our Union, Obama's mind is in a state of confusion, delusion and decay."

From an event in Iowa, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush argued that Obama's rhetoric on foreign policy is making America less safe.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich instead focused on what the U.S. would look like after eight years of his own presidency.

"Eight years from now I look forward to giving a State of the Union that describes a stronger, safer and more united America," Kasich said in a statement. "We’re going to cut taxes, balance the budget and get government out of the way so every American can rise."

Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, argued that Republicans can't beat potential Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by selecting a nominee like Trump.

"We need a nominee who can beat Hillary and who will finally hold her accountable. One thing is clear: Hillary Clinton will wipe the floor with Donald Trump," Fiorina said in a statement.

Sen. Rand Paul, (R-Ky.), tweeted out a five-minute video-taped response to the speech, in which he said that Obama is "a leader with a record of failure in search of any meaningful positive legacy."

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson tweeted a quick response, then added to it in an appearance on Fox Business, which will host a GOP debate on Thursday night.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tweeted out a video response from a Fox appearance midway through the president's speech, arguing that if elected president, he'll make sure the government works for the people.

And Rick Santorum posted a video on Facebook of his own State of the Union-type speech earlier today in Iowa.

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