Hawaii Democrats and Republicans react to President's speech - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii Democrats and Republicans react to President's speech

Audrey Keesing Audrey Keesing
Dante Carpenter Dante Carpenter
Jonah Kaauwai Jonah Kaauwai
Dan Boylan Dan Boylan

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There was lots of reaction to the President's speech from leaders of both parties, and grassroots supporters who gathered for the big show.

As expected, there was mixed reaction from Hawaii Democrats and Republicans. Both agree the President is a great speaker, but party leaders disagree on whether his state of the union address has substance.

On Wednesday, there were plenty of cheers at the Hawaii Democratic Party's headquarters in Ala Moana.

"I think it was fantastic," said Audrey Keesing, a Democrat.

But parts of the President's speech did make a few Democrats flinch.

"I am not for the proliferation of nuclear power plants throughout America," said Keesing, referring to President Obama's call to build a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants.

As for the President's promise to create more jobs -

"To me, that's what our challenge is here in Hawaii, irrespective of if you're a Republican, Democrat, independent, or any combination," said Dante Carpenter, Interim Chair for the Hawaii Democratic Party.

"Because of the steps we took, there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed," said President Obama.

"That doesn't count for the millions of other jobs that have been lost in the process. Alone, in the state of Hawaii, we've lost 50,000 private sector jobs that have been lost in this economic time," said Jonah Kaauwai, Hawaii Republican Party Chair.

Kaauwai says the President's speech is full of promises, but no proof of results, especially on health care.

"We saw in the Scott Brown race, the people of America do not want health care reform," said Kaauwai.

"It undermines a little bit of confidence, but I don't think it changes the complexion of the world does it? Democrats still have a very large majority, so they still have the upper hand," said Carpenter.

"{The President} said I am not naive about my ability to suddenly make everyone work together, yet you find yourself watching the Republicans not applaud very much, the Democrats going wild," said political analyst, Dan Boylan.

It's a sign of the deep divide President Obama will continue to battle as he tries to deliver on his message of change.

Local Republicans do like the President's plan to help small businesses. But Kaauwai says they've been pushing for that all along, and are skeptical the President will follow through.

 

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