Mixed reaction in Illinois to Obama speech

January 25, 2012 10:24:06 AM PST
There was a wide range of opinions throughout the Land of Lincoln to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night.

ABC7 talked to people on the street Wednesday morning and of those who watched the address on television, said it was a positive message.

Matt Rogus gave Obama a good review.

"I thought he did a good job," he said. "Hopefully the economy is going in the right direction."

Harry Boyd said Republicans are getting in the way of progress.

"Anytime he (Obama) tries to pass something or do something for us, for the country, the Republicans block it," he said.

The reaction was varied depending on who you talked to.

"I'm not sure he's going to get done the things he wants to get done and it was nice wishful thinking," said Debbie Covington. "I would have liked to have seen more detail and I really do think he is looking at class warfare."

"It made me more hopeful," said Mary Casey. "I mean I think he's doing a good job. I just think he has so much opposition."

David From, of Americans for Prosperity, said, "We still have high unemployment. It took a lot of money to try to stimulate the economy and the burdensome healthcare law, and attempts at cap and trade. It just doesn't seem to support the assertion that he's trying to be pro jobs and reduce unemployment."

The president's speech is meant to set the agenda of where America is headed. But many Americans are skeptical that much will get done in the partisan climate of this election year.

Some commuters at Union Station expressed a general frustration with Washington and political finger-pointing in an environment where many Americans are losing their homes and need jobs. ABC7's political analyst Laura Washington said she understands why people are skeptical in the partisan climate of the election year.

"I think it's not a surprise that people are frustrated," Washington said. "We've had a year of gridlock in Congress and last night there was no indication that that was going to change. The only bipartisan moment was the welcome for Gabby Giffords."

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin told ABC7 Wednesday morning that he's hopeful positive things will be accomplished despite what's shaping up to be a heated campaign season.

"An election year is especially difficult because a lot of people have their political careers at stake in the November election," Durbin said. "But I think what the president said is if we want to keep the economy moving forward, we need to work together. We need to listen to Republicans and they need to listen to us."

But Republican Rep. Joe Walsh was left with a different impression.

"There was an eerie silence in the chamber," Walsh said. "We kept waiting for an acknowledgement that the country is broke. We've been living beyond our means for years, but he doesn't acknowledge it."