WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama set up high-stakes clashes with Republicans over guns, immigration, taxes and climate change in a State of the Union address that showcased his determination to mark his legacy. Rep. Paul Ryan said Obama could better achieve his goals if he would get out of "campaign mode."
At the center of looming confrontations in Washington is a fight over the very role of government, with Obama pushing a raft of new initiatives to improve preschool programs and voting, boost manufacturing and research and development, raise the minimum wage and lower energy use. "It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many and not just the few," he said.
Republicans who control the House and hold enough votes to stall legislation in the Senate were just as quick to declare that the government helps best by getting out of the way.
Ryan, the GOP's vice presidential candidate last fall, said this morning that Obama's leadership style stands in the way of bipartisan efforts to resolve problems like the ballooning deficit. "He seems to always be in campaign mode, where he treats people in the other party as enemies rather than partners," the Wisconsin Republican said in an interview on "CBS This Morning."
Ryan was asked if he supported House Speaker John Boehner's remark Tuesday that he didn't believe Obama "has the guts" to stand up to liberals in his own party on spending cuts.
"That's why the congressman makes remarks like that," Ryan said of Boehner.
Ryan's comments came just hours before Obama was to set off on a three-state trip, starting in North Carolina, to sell to voters the programs he outlined in his address. Obama hit the road frequently in campaign-style trips in December to appeal directly to voters for the approach that he favored, including new taxes, to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."
Republican critics have said the president should stay home and focus his attention on dealing directly with Congress on these issues.
In the formal Republican response to Obama's address, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said, "More government isn't going to help you get ahead. It's going to hold you back. More government isn't going to create more opportunities. It's going to limit them."
"And more government isn't going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs. It's going to create uncertainty," said Rubio, a rising star in the party.