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Republican challengers assail Obama's address

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Obama's State of the Union sounds campaign message
Full text of Obama's State of the Union address
Full text of Gov. Mitch Daniels' Republican response

Republican presidential candidates, refusing to cede the political stage Tuesday, ripped into President Obama's State of the Union address, accusing him of class warfare and a failure to fulfill his campaign promises.

"In big speeches, he tends to tell tall tales about an America that's thriving on his watch," former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney told a crowd in Tampa, Fla., standing beneath a massive "Obama Isn't Working" banner. "If tonight were the first message to Congress in a Romney administration ... I wouldn't spend my time blaming others for how we got in this mess. I'd explain how we're going to get out of it."

And on Obama's insistence that the wealthiest Americans weren't paying there fair share in taxes, Romney added, "It's shameful for a president to use the State of the Union to divide our nation."

Whoever becomes the Republican presidential nominee is likely to attack Obama for failing to bring unemployment below 8 percent as he vowed when pushing through a massive federal stimulus bill that has since turned off a wide swath of voters.

And though former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is now furiously fighting Romney in the Florida primary, he agreed with Romney on at least one point -- that Obama's message on Tuesday didn't match his last three years in office.

"Tonight, the president will explain it was all George W. Bush's fault," Gingrich told a few thousand supporters gathered at an airport hangar. "This is the fourth year of his presidency, he needs to get over it."

Further prodding Obama, Gingrich added, "He doesn't seem to operate in the same planet you and I do -- Planet Obama, somewhere out there."

And former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, running a distant third in Florida, joined the Obama bashing during a busy day of campaigning in the Sunshine State.

"He has grown the deficit in this country to absolutely immoral lengths," Santorum said. "He has increased the debt of this country so now the debt equals the entire size of the economy. This is the most activist, big-government, leftist president that has ever served in this country."

bhughes@washingtonexaminer.com

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