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September 8th, 2011
06:03 AM ET

Talk Back: How should the president handle the country's divisiveness in his speech tonight?

From CNN's Carol Costello:

At tonight's speech, President Obama will not only face a bitterly divided Congress, but also a bitterly divided nation.

Some Republicans have already dismissed Obama's speech, saying any proposal from the president will amount to little more than a continuation of what they characterize as his failed 2009 stimulus plan. A few Republicans, such as Congressman Walsh and Senator Vitter, don't even plan on attending. Instead, Rep. Walsh will engage in a "Twitter town hall" meeting and Sen. Vitter will host a NFL football party.

This has left many commentators, such as columnist Paul Krugman, wondering why the president should even bother with bipartisanship because Republicans will "oppose anything Mr. Obama proposes."

However, there are Republican leaders who have said that they are willing to work with the president. In a letter to Mr. Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor wrote, "It is also critical that our differences not preclude us from taking action in areas where there is common agreement. We should not approach this as an all or nothing situation."

Talk Back: How should the president handle the country's divisiveness in his speech tonight?

Let us know what you think. Your response may be read on this morning's broadcast.


Filed under: AM Talk Back
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. kenneth rhames

    yes everyone should pay there fair of taxes. the once middle class and now poor are the very ones who made the rich richer.some people don't understand it's a no brain er help the ones that are the backbones to this country

    September 13, 2011 at 6:48 am |
  2. Bear

    How can we hold a person, Democrat or Republican or any party, responsible for the country when they have only been in office for 3 years. How about these career politicians, 10, 20, 30 years that have let this happen to our country. Why are they not taking the heat for this. They should have never let this happen, they have been in there the longest and should have taken care of the job they were elected to do.

    September 8, 2011 at 8:01 am |
  3. john doe

    Obama, look right into the camera and say " I got NOTHING"!!! Truth sells!!!!

    September 8, 2011 at 7:53 am |
  4. Mary Ann Bradford, Jr

    At this point our President should care less about the divisivness in congress & more about how this jobs plan will affect people like me, the unemployed! And what's up with the blatant disrespect from Republicans? They were angry with Clinton but never this disrespectrful, even during impeachment, monica gate, etc... Republicans are starting to show their true colors, white for the angry masses they appeal to and green the color of money for the corporations they represent! From the sometime working poor, Its our America too & its about time our voices are heard as well the middle class! Not in the "oh woe is me" voice of an inner city mom trying to make ends meet. They need to hear "we're mad as hell & really don't wanna hear another speech...from ANYBODY!" Congress do what you were ELECTED to do, represent WE THE PEOPLE....remember us?

    September 8, 2011 at 7:46 am |
  5. Rick

    I believe that until the president show his toughness the Republicans and especially the Tea Party members in congress will not listen to anything he has to say. They have talked him down in his last three proposed plans and they more less feel that they can run the White House as they choose!!! They continue to talk about Stimulus does not work, mostly because it’s not in favorite of the 3% wealthiest American, but in fact more jobs would have been lost without it!!

    The Tea Partiers constantly shouting about government spending and smaller government, but in fact the government really does not specialize in anything. The last documents I read showed that nearly 60% of the people on federal government payroll in 2009 were contractors. Therefore, when you shout smaller government you are actually saying take jobs away from the government contractors which are the private sector. But in a contradicting statement you stay the private sector needs help from the government!!!

    I do agree we need to get our spending under control but a sluggish economy is not the time when people need government help the most in order to maintain their livelihood in our depressed economy!!! If the Tea Partiers had it their ways I think we would truly be heading back into the days before Dr. King speak “I Have A Dream!” So unless the President becomes more of a hard-hitter with his demands, his speeches will just be speeches and will never get pass congress!!!!

    September 8, 2011 at 7:42 am |
  6. Rick

    I believe that until the president show his toughness the Republicans and especially the Tea Party members in congress will not list to anything he has to say. They have talked him down in his last three proposed plans and they more less feel that they can run the White House as they choose!!! They continue to talk about Stimulus does not work, mostly because it’s not in favorite of the 3% wealthiest American, but in fact more jobs would have been lost without it!!

    The Tea Partiers constantly shouting about government spending and smaller government so that the middle class of people will receive less financial help to maintain their livelihood in our depressed economy!!! I do agree we need to get our spending under control but a sluggish economy is not the time when people need government help the most!!! If the Tea Partiers had it their ways I think we would truly be heading back into the days before Dr. King speak “I Have A Dream!” So unless the President becomes more of a hard-hitter with his demands, his speeches will just be speeches and will never get pass congress!!!!

    September 8, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  7. Debbie S

    Unfortunately I don't see any of the Republicans willing to do anything that will benefit anyone but their cronies. I believe the president has tried to reach across the aisle on numerous occasions only to be critisized. I for one am looking forward to the speech tonight and I know he will give us something that will help the little guy. Give em hell Mr. President!

    September 8, 2011 at 7:29 am |
  8. G.Cooley

    President Obama needs to remember the thousands of American he met with when he was running for office and our stories of the struggle. He needs to plant his feet firmly and speak about whats going to happen and not what should happen. Lastly, he shouold make the meeting mandatory. Since when do you tell the president, sorry, I got better things to do, like host a football game?

    September 8, 2011 at 7:22 am |
  9. Marylyn Stallmann

    No matter what he says or proposes, it will be rejected by the "other side". Never thought I would say this, but if the President were white, no one would "skip" his presentation to congress – especially to host a party to watch a football game. Makes you wonder what the world has come to. It is so childish for Republican lawmakers to not show up for the President's speech. If they worked in the real world and didn't show up for an important presentation by one of the officers of the company, they would be fired on the spot. Oh, that's right. They are not working in the real world. No wonder congress has a 13% approval rating. I am surprised they are ranked that high.

    September 8, 2011 at 7:21 am |
  10. Jay Monson

    He needs to stick to his guns....The right blames the President for the economy, buy won't take blame for two unfunded wars that have basically gone nowhere and a -700,000 job loss a month at the beginning of his term. They don't want government to get invovled but blame him for no job creation. You can't have it both ways.

    September 8, 2011 at 7:18 am |
  11. Sherri

    The divisiveness you refer to is not from republicans alone but a product of the administration as a whole. Asking how he should handle it reveals that even those in his corner realize that he is a significant part of the problem. This type of quarreling and the rhetoric it invites is a sign of a manager rather than the leader he should be. The challenge he failed to meet was to bring even those who disagree to a common ground, the sign of a true leader. He has neither the charisma nor the leadership qualities that are especially needed in times as these.

    September 8, 2011 at 7:17 am |
  12. Steph

    I think the President needs to tell the Democrates and Republicans it is part of their job to listen to all sides and work together for the good of the people who are paying for their salary. You can not sit in an office and talk (or tweet) to others and say your are listening. It does show those who are not willing to work together, they are acting worse than a teenage girls.

    September 8, 2011 at 7:10 am |
  13. Amy Engler

    Americans should DEMAND that paychecks should be WITHHELD for any member of Congress who doesn't attend the joint session of Congress tonight. Some, like Rep. Broun, M.D., (R-GA), say they are going to boycott the address and hold their own "town meetings" with their constituents. What these Republicans were doing during their 5-week recess during August! I thought that was the time for them to meet with their constituents. Democrats should CALL OUT these people by taking out a full-page ad in every major newspaper, magazine, as well as purchase prime-time ads to run on television, featuring the names and the districts each of those who fail to attend the president's address this evening. The media should be relentless in shaming these obstructionists! These people need to DO THEIR JOBS and represent their people IN Congress, or their paychecks should be withheld.

    September 8, 2011 at 7:07 am |
  14. jane Balfour

    What's with these repubs not attending the speech? I doubt they would do this to a white president. And Broun's (R-GA) stupid excess is that he needs to twitter his constituents to hear what they s want – what did he do the 5 weeks he was supposed to be home in his district representing ( listening) to the voters? Now it's a rush and he MUST do it tonight at 7 pm exactly. No other time will do. What bull!

    September 8, 2011 at 7:02 am |
  15. Roger

    he should do what his wants to do is this job speech and the economy let the republicans destroy themselves and show that they are a party that just cant get things done. They are only worried about defeating Pres. Obama and Cut Cut Cut and save the rich to pay their share in a country in two wars if we don't stand together we fail and the country will fail but if we stand together like 9/11 we will get the country on a winning track of us and the world but that will not happen because they don't respect the presidency and the office in the White House its the american people who built the country not congress we elected you to do some we can vote you guys out look at wisconsion.

    September 8, 2011 at 6:57 am |
  16. Mary Kaye Halterman

    President Obama, should lay out his plan with firmness and committment. Reaching across the asile for support is a mute point during a presidential campaign as they all have their own agenda! Hope and Vision with a call to acton to Americans to take risks and move this nation forward. This country is built on the people's actions NOT polictical rhetoric.

    September 8, 2011 at 6:31 am |
  17. Pete Haberly

    Re: ", there are Republican leaders who have said that they are willing to work with the president. In a letter to Mr. Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor wrote, "It is also critical that our differences not preclude us from taking action in areas where there is common agreement. We should not approach this as an all or nothing situation."
    My opinion is that this is just another case of "smoke & mirrors" – These two Republicans DON'T want to work with Obama – they want to "say" that and then make it hard for him to do anything so they can get a Republican elected president. It's the same old story – Republicans want the Whitehouse at the cost of ruining this country in the process! I expect more "NO's" from Republicans to anything Obama will try to do no matter how sensible it is.

    September 8, 2011 at 6:25 am |
  18. Steven, Mesa, Arizona

    Messrs. Boehner and Cantor, along with their Republican colleagues, have shown repeatedly that they are unable to negotiate on these matters in good faith. Democrats try to anticipate what Republicans will object to and give up before they get started. President Obama should set out his plan as the best possible option, and citing these past experiences, make ALL negotiations transparent and televised, without exception, such that Americans from both sides of the ideological divide can see for themselves who is being obstructionist, who is trying to compromise, and what the priorities really are. What else do you do when children can't play nice together but watch them when they play?

    September 8, 2011 at 6:24 am |
  19. Walter Johnson

    He should propose what he thnks is best for the nation regardless of prospects for passage. The House Republican leadership is merely doing another smoke screen. No matter what is proposed their caucus will vote no unless it makes the rich richer at the expense of economic growth.

    September 8, 2011 at 6:16 am |