By Ben Kamisar
Republican presidential candidates gave unsurprisingly negative reviews to President Obama’s final State of the Union address.
GOP front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump campaign loses two staffers Clinton video spotlights Trump products made outside US The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE panned the speech on Twitter as “really boring, slow, lethargic – very hard to watch.”
The #SOTU speech is really boring, slow, lethargic - very hard to watch!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2016
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also tweeted his responses during the speech, bashing Obama for not taking foreign police threats, including from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and North Korea, seriously.
Safer? ISIS on the rise. North Korea testing nukes. Syria in chaos. Taliban on march. This president is living in a different world. #SOTU— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) January 13, 2016
Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzThe Hill's 12:30 Report Trump hires Florida chief strategist, new pollster Lynch pressured to recuse herself after Clinton tarmac meeting MORE (R-Texas) struck Obama’s performance as “less of a state of the union than a state of denial,” as he hammered the president for refusing to use the words “radical Islamic terror,” or reference the ongoing situation with Iran. Earlier on Tuesday, Iran seized two Navy vessels and 10 sailors who reportedly were found on Iranian waters.
“This speech, he didn’t say a word about the Paris terror attacks, he didn’t say a word about San Bernardino,” Cruz said in an interview on NBC moments after the GOP response to Obama’s address.
“The American people are tired of having a president who won’t acknowledge the evil we are facing.”
Florida Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioWhich GOP pols will actually attend the convention? Poll: Rubio holds massive lead in primary Rubio: Turkey attack 'directed' by ISIS MORE stayed quiet on Twitter during the speech and didn't immediately issue a statement. But he needled the president in an interview with CNN ahead of the speech for leaving behind the America people and making the past seven years "disastrous."
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who, as a former congressman and current governor, regularly frames himself as the most qualified to hold the office, chided Obama’s administration as the failure of “on-the-job training” in his campaign statement.
Former Hewlett Packard executive Carly Fiorina, who consistently decries the political class, framed Obama’s speech as politics as usual in her statement and said it underscored the need for a political outsider as president.
Ben Carson, another political outsider, echoed that point on Twitter, when he called the remarks “the perfect example of why we must reform Washington DC and give the power back to We the People.”
Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulTrump campaign loses two staffers Trump's new digital strategist quickly leaves campaign Trump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office MORE (R-Ky.) attacked the president in a YouTube video as a “leader with a record of failure in search of any meaningful positive legacy,” adding that he'd be the only candidate who could stop the "unholy alliance between the left and right."
Half of the senators running for president chose to attend the speech, while the other half skipped it. Rubio and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is running for the Democratic nomination, were in attendance, while Cruz and Paul were not. Cruz stayed in New Hampshire to campaign; Paul’s staff told The Hill that he was in New York before leaving to campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire.