Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) described President Obama's second inaugural address as something similar to a campaign speech.
"I thought the way he got specific yesterday made it more of a, again, almost a campaign-type address. I mean, parts were very good. He's an excellent speaker, obviously," King said Tuesday on CNN, a day after Obama's address. "But even, for instance, the way he was sort of distinguishing the issues, implying that Democrats care more about disabled kids than Republicans do or he's not going to turn his back on the sick and elderly — well, you know, nobody wants to do any of those things.
"I thought he could've found some way to be more constructive. Maybe he felt the time for that was gone. But he's going to give out his State of the Union speech on Feb. 12, that's where he can really lay out his agenda. I thought yesterday he missed an opportunity."
Obama's speech might have been better if he had specifically acknowledged disagreements with top Republicans like Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), King continued.
"I think he would've made more progress if he had acknowledged the honest disagreements, if he had, perhaps, mentioned John Boehner's name or Mitch McConnell's name the way President George H.W. Bush did with Speaker Jim Wright back in 1989," King said. "It's just a gesture on a day which is more of a unifying day. You can still make a case but do it in a more magnanimous way."
Like King, a number of Republicans complained that the president did not suggest new efforts to try and work with members of the opposing party in his speech.
"It did seem that he wasn’t doing the kind of outreach that he needs to do if he wants to get things accomplished in a second term," Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said after the speech. "We’ll see how it’s received."
King also argued Obama missed an opportunity to discuss necessary changes to entitlement programs. Obama alluded to entitlements in the speech when he said the country "must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of healthcare and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future."
"Again, he really, if anything, he really seemed to dig in defending those programs as they are," King said. "That was the impression he gave. Now maybe he's willing to give concessions, but it would've been helpful, I think, if he had indicated that willingness up front."