Play-by-Play: State of the Union, GOP Response

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CBN News White House Reporter Dana Ritter provided up-to-the-minute coverage of President Obama's much anticipated State of the Union address and the GOP response by newly-elected Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. 

Click the player to watch the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Read Ritter's updates below on the most notable moments in the speeches.

GOP Response:

10:42 p.m. - Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell wraps up the GOP response: "Now, we should pledge as Democrats, Republicans and Independents--Americans--all to work together to leave this nation a better place than we found it. God Bless you and God Bless our great nation."

10:41 p.m. - McDonnell pushes smaller, local government instead of big government: "Top-down one-size fits all decision making should not replace the personal choices of free people in a free market, nor undermine the proper role of state and local governments in our system of federalism. As our founders clearly stated, and we Governors understand, government closest to the people governs best."

10:39 p.m. - Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell quotes newly elected Republican Sen. Scott Brown from Massachusetts: "As Senator-elect Scott Brown says, we should be spending taxpayer dollars to defeat terrorists, not to protect them."  He was being critical of the attempted terror attack on Christmas Day.

10:39 p.m. - On Afghanistan: "We applaud President Obama's decision to deploy 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. We agree that victory there is a national security imperative."

10:37 p.m. - On Iraq: "The courage and success of our Armed Forces is allowing us to draw down troop levels in Iraq as that government is increasingly able to step up. My oldest daughter, Jeanine, was an Army platoon leader in Iraq, so I'm personally grateful for the service and the sacrifice of all of our men and women in uniform, and a grateful nation thanks them."

10:36 p.m. - On Education, some common ground: "The President and I agree on expanding the number of high-quality charter schools, and rewarding teachers for excellent performance. More school choices for parents and students mean more accountability and greater achievement. A child's educational opportunity should be determined by her intellect and work ethic, not by her zip code." This line sounds like it's straight from McDonnell's inaugural address, just over a week ago.

10:35 p.m. - Hey! Republicans say they're open to health care ideas too, McDonnell: "Our solutions aren't thousand-page bills that no one has fully read, after being crafted behind closed doors with special interests. In fact, many of our proposals are available online at, and we welcome your ideas on Facebook and Twitter."

10:34 p.m. - McDonnell on health care: "Most Americans do not want to turn over the best medical care system in the world to the federal government. Republicans in Congress have offered legislation to reform healthcare, without shifting Medicaid costs to the states, without cutting Medicare and without raising your taxes. We will do that by implementing common sense reforms, like letting families and businesses buy health insurance policies across state lines and ending frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals that drive up the cost of your healthcare."

10:33 p.m. - Gov. McDonnell said the federal government is trying to do too much. "Without reform, the excessive growth of government threatens our very liberty and prosperity."

10:31 p.m. - Gov. McDonnell has something for President Obama's not-to-do list: "What government should not do is pile on more taxation, regulation and litigation that kill jobs and hurt the middle class."

10:31 p.m. - First up on his agenda... the hot topic of the night: JOBS! "Good government policy should spur economic growth and strengthen the private sector's ability to create new jobs."

10:31 p.m. - Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell starts things off light: "It's not easy to follow the President of the United States. And my twin 18-year-old boys have added to the pressure, by giving me exactly 10 minutes to finish before they leave to go watch SportsCenter."

10:29 p.m. - McDonnell will give the GOP response or "address" from the Virginia Capitol in Richmond, Va. He's starting NOW.

10:28 p.m. - The White House says a million people watched the State of the Union on their Web site. Now they're inviting people to respond via their YouTube page.

10:26 p.m. -  It's Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's 11th day on the job. Welcome to the national spotlight!

State of the Union:

10:24 p.m. - President Obama is shaking hands as he exits the House Chamber. Democrats are making their way out, too. We're standing by for the GOP response from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. 

10:20 p.m. - President Obama finished the State of the Union address with the words, " God Bless You. And God Bless the United States of America."

10:20 p.m. - Looking ahead: "We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don't quit. I don't quit. Let's seize this moment - to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more."

10:19 p.m. - President Obama said an 8 year old little boy sent him his allowance and asked for it to go to help people in Haiti.

10:19 p.m. - Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now nearing the end of the speech!

10:18 p.m. - Grading himself: "Our administration has had some political setbacks this year, and some of them were deserved. But I wake up every day knowing that they are nothing compared to the setbacks that families all across this country have faced this year. And what keeps me going - what keeps me fighting - is that despite all these setbacks, that spirit of determination and optimism - that fundamental decency that has always been at the core of the American people - lives on."

10:17 p.m. - Reminiscing about his campaign: "I campaigned on the promise of change - change we can believe in, the slogan went. And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren't sure if they still believe we can change - or at least, that I can deliver it. But remember this - I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I can do it alone. Democracy in a nation of three hundred million people can be noisy and messy and complicated. And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy. That's just how it is."

10:14 p.m. - Sounds like it's going to be a busy year.  He's throwing more on the to-do list: "We are going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws - so that women get equal pay for an equal day's work. And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system - to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nations."

10:13 p.m. - On Don't Ask, Don't Tell: "This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are."

10:11 p.m. - The crowd stands to their feet again, including the Ambassador to Haiti, seated in the First Lady's box, as President Obama says, "As we meet here tonight, over 10,000 Americans are working with many nations to help the people of Haiti recover and rebuild."

10:10 p.m. - Did anyone else catch that he referred to it as "the Islamic Republic of Iran"? Hmmm. Interesting!

10:10 p.m. - On North Korea and Iran: "North Korea now faces increased isolation and stronger sanctions-- sanctions that are being vigorously enforced. That is why the international community is more united and the Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated. And as Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt: they, too, will face growing consequences."

10:09 p.m. - Now he's talking foreign policy, starting with the threat of nuclear weapons: "I have embraced the vision of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan through a strategy that reverses the spread of these weapons and seeks a world without them. To reduce our stockpiles and launchers, while ensuring our deterrent, the United States and Russia are completing negotiations on the farthest-reaching arms control treaty in nearly two decades. And at April's Nuclear Security Summit, we will bring 44 nations together behind a clear goal: securing all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years, so that they never fall into the hands of terrorists."

10:07 p.m. - Obama says our troops have our respect, our gratitude and our full support. "We all have a responsibility to support them when they come home."

10:07 p.m. - On Iraq: "As we take the fight to al Qaeda, we are responsibly leaving Iraq to its people. As a candidate, I promised that I would end this war and that is what I am doing as President. We will have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August. We will support the Iraqi government as they hold elections and continue to partner with the Iraqi people to promote regional peace and prosperity. But make no mistake: this war is ending and all of our troops are coming home."

10:05 p.m. - President Obama on Afghanistan: "We are increasing our troops and training Afghan Security Forces so they can begin to take the lead in July of 2011, and our troops can begin to come home. We will reward good governance, reduce corruption and support the rights of all Afghans - men and women alike. We are joined by allies and partners who have increased their own commitment and who will come together tomorrow in London to reaffirm our common purpose. There will be difficult days ahead. But I am confident we will succeed."

10:04 p.m. - On Homeland Security: "We are filling unacceptable gaps revealed by the failed Christmas attack, with better airline security and swifter action on our intelligence. We have prohibited torture and strengthened partnerships from the Pacific to South Asia to the Arabian Peninsula. And in the last year, hundreds of al Qaeda's fighters and affiliates, including many senior leaders, have been captured or killed-- far more than in 2008."

10:03 p.m. - Message for Republicans: Let's get together! "This week, I'll be addressing a meeting of the House Republicans. And I would like to begin monthly meetings with both the Democratic and Republican leadership. I know you can't wait."

10:02 p.m. - Obama's message for Democrats: "Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades and the people expect us to solve some problems, not run for the hills."

10:01 p.m. - President Obama calls for an end to partisanship: "Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions."

9:59 p.m. - With another twinge of sarcasm, Obama speaks to both political parties: "Now, I am not naïve. I never thought the mere fact of my election would usher in peace, harmony and some post-partisan era. I knew that both parties have fed divisions that are deeply entrenched."

9:57 p.m. - Obama's cabinet stands and so do some members of Congress, while the Supreme Court Justices sit still as he mentions a recent ruling. "Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people and that's why I'm urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong."

9:56 p.m. - Sounding a little sarcastic here... "It's time to try something new. Let's invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt. Let's meet our responsibility to the citizens who sent us here. Let's try common sense."

9:54 p.m. - Obama wants to bring back the 90s: "... the Senate should restore the pay-as-you-go law that was a big reason why we had record surpluses in the 1990s." Vote is tomorrow.

9:54 p.m. - On the idea of having a bi-partisan Fiscal Commission, which the Senate doesn't support... President Obama says he'll go around them: "I will issue an executive order that will allow us to go forward, because I refuse to pass this problem on to another generation of Americans."

9:53 p.m. - Who WON'T benefit from any tax cuts? Obama says, "We will not continue tax cuts for oil companies, investment fund managers and those making over $250,000 a year. We just can't afford it."

9:51 p.m. - Obama has specific steps to pay for the money he spent last year: "Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will."

And, it came with a threat of the "V" word: "If I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will."

9:51 p.m. - I'm just now realizing that Nancy and Joe kind of match. Joe with the purple tie, Nancy in periwinkle. Oh, they're on their feet again!

9:49 p.m. - Time to talk about the budget. Obama looks back: "At the beginning of the last decade, America had a budget surplus of over $200 billion. By the time I took office, we had a one year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. That was before I walked in the door." Laughter.... then some cheering. Nancy Pelosi can be seen in the background talking to Vice President Biden.

9:48 p.m. - Whoa! Obama got some Republicans to stand and clap at this! He says he's open to suggestions: "If anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors and stop insurance company abuses, let me know." Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is spotted standing.

9:47 p.m. - He's still talking about health care and getting applause from some: "But I also know this problem is not going away. By the time I'm finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance. Millions will lose it this year. Our deficit will grow. Premiums will go up. Patients will be denied the care they need. Small business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether. I will not walk away from these Americans, and neither should the people in this chamber."

9:45 p.m. - President Obama leads a round of applause for First Lady Michelle Obama for heading up an initiative to fight childhood obesity.

9:45 p.m. - "Let's be clear" is one of President Obama's most commonly used phrases, but I think that's the first time I've heard it tonight!

9:44 p.m. - The President got some laughs as he introduced the topic of health care reform: "Now let's be clear - I did not choose to tackle this issue to get some legislative victory under my belt. And by now it should be fairly obvious that I didn't take on health care because it was good politics."

9:43 p.m. - More for middle class families: "We're nearly doubling the child care tax credit and making it easier to save for retirement by giving every worker access to a retirement account and expanding the tax credit for those who start a nest egg."

9:42 p.m. - Touting some of his new middle-class initiatives, President Obama on student loans: "Let's take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants. And let's tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only ten percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after twenty years - and forgiven after ten years if they choose a career in public service."

9:41 p.m. - I hope the Senators in the Hall brought their pens! To do: "I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families."

9:38 p.m. - On trade, a big goal from President Obama: "Tonight, we set a new goal: We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support 2 million jobs in America."

9:37 p.m. - Obama acknowledges not everyone is on board with his beliefs about climate change: "I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future - because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation."

9:36 p.m. - Attention Senators, your to-do list is getting even longer. Now, on climate change: "I am grateful to the House for passing such a bill last year. This year, I am eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate. "

9:35 p.m. - Add North Carolina and California to the list of states that got a Presidential shout-out tonight.

9:33 p.m. - Another item to add to the Senate's to-do list: "The House has already passed financial reform with many of these changes. And the lobbyists are already trying to kill it. Well, we cannot let them win this fight. And if the bill that ends up on my desk does not meet the test of real reform, I will send it back."

9:31 p.m. - The White House told us it was coming... Here it is, the blame on Washington: "You see, Washington has been telling us to wait for decades, even as the problems have grown worse. Meanwhile, China's not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany's not waiting. India's not waiting. These nations aren't standing still. These nations aren't playing for second place. They're putting more emphasis on math and science. They're rebuilding their infrastructure. They are making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs.

"Well I do not accept second-place for the United States of America. As hard as it may be, as uncomfortable and contentious as the debates may be, it's time to get serious about fixing the problems that are hampering our growth."

9:29 p.m. - President Obama has #1 for the Senate's to-do list: "The House has passed a jobs bill that includes some of these steps. As the first order of business this year, I urge the Senate to do the same. People are out of work. They are hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay."

9:40 p.m. - President Obama used talk about trade and working with other nations to transition into what will soon be the White House's #1 domestic priority-- education: "In the 21st century, one of the best anti-poverty programs is a world-class education. In this country, the success of our children cannot depend more on where they live than their potential."

9:27 p.m. - In mentioning particular places, Obama sticks with political swing states. So far he's mentioned Indiana, Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.

9:26 p.m. - Obama wants to take money from the big Wall Street banks and give it to small community banks: "I'm proposing that we take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat."

9:25 p.m. - President Obama: "Jobs must be our number one focus in 2010 and that is why I am calling for a new jobs bill tonight." With that, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi rose to their feet, applauding.

9:24 p.m. - On talk of the economic stimulus, Democrats cheered, while Republicans sat quietly.

9:22 p.m. - On jobs, President Obama says we're on track to add 1.5 million more jobs before the end of the year.

9:21 p.m. - After talking about cutting taxes, President Obama said "I thought I'd get some applause on that one." There was a little bit of laughter, a little bit of lag time... and then... you guessed it, applause!

9:21 p.m. - President Obama on cutting taxes: "We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. "

9:20 p.m. - The word from the White House: President Obama's speech will last between 70 and 75 minutes. Give or take for applause... for those of you who are counting... we are now at the 5th pause for applause!

9:19 p.m. - President Obama hates on the bank bailout: "If there’s one thing that has unified Democrats and Republicans, it’s that we all hated the bank bailout.  I hated it.  You hated it.  It was about as popular as a root canal."

9:17 p.m. - President Obama on the State of the Union: "I have never been more hopeful about America’s future than I am tonight.  Despite our hardships, our union is strong."

9:14 p.m. - President Obama talks of letters he reads from Americans, each night, "The toughest to read are those written by children – asking why they have to move from their home, or when their mom or dad will be able to go back to work."

9:13 p.m. - First out the Gate, President Obama talks about the economy: "One year ago, I took office amid two wars, an economy rocked by severe recession, a financial system on the verge of collapse, and a government deeply in debt.  Experts from across the political spectrum warned that if we did not act, we might face a second depression.  So we acted – immediately and aggressively.  And one year later, the worst of the storm has passed.

But the devastation remains.  One in ten Americans still cannot find work.  Many businesses have shuttered.  Home values have declined.  Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard.  For those who had already known poverty, life has become that much harder."

9:10 p.m. - President Obama just handed Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi copies of his speech.

9:08 p.m. - President Obama is making his way to the podium, shaking hands and hugging members of Congress and his administration. He's wearing a Navy suit and a red tie with white stripes.

9:04 p.m. - President Obama is now entering the Chamber. He was introduced with the infamous gavel tap and introduction "Madame Speaker, the President of the United States!"

9:03 p.m. - Members of President Obama's cabinet are currently entering the Chamber. Supreme Court Justices and First Lady Michelle Obama have already arrived.

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