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GOP counters with 'hopeful' vision

The chairwoman of the House Republican Conference on Tuesday night countered President Obama with a “hopeful” vision for that nation that would promote individual freedom over government power.

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"Tonight I'd like to share a more hopeful, Republican vision — one that empowers you, not the government," Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said in remarks to the nation. "It's one that champions free markets — and trusts people to make their own decisions, not a government that decides for you."

While the speech was billed as the formal GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union Address, the congresswoman’s office said she didn't want the speech to be heard as a rebuttal, but instead as an alternative vision for the country.

Still, she downplayed Obama's speech as one filled with promises of what the government can deliver to its citizens, and said it’s a mindset that Republicans don't share.

"Tonight the President made more promises that sound good, but won't actually solve the problems actually facing Americans," she said.

"We want you to have a better life. The President wants that too. But we part ways when it comes to how to make that happen."

McMorris Rodgers offered mostly broad themes instead of specific proposals, and reiterated the GOP complaint that an overreaching federal government is strangling private-sector growth.

"The President talks a lot about income inequality," she said. "But the real gap we face today is one of opportunity inequality. And with this administration's policies, that gap has become far too wide."

She added that the GOP's plans would not involve "more spending, government bailouts, and red tape."

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