WASHINGTON — Leading up to the State of the Union, Republican senators urged President Barack Obama on Tuesday to stress areas of agreement and to focus first and foremost on a message of unity.
“What I hope to hear from the president tonight is an emphasis on things we can agree on, things that give us a chance to actually advance the agenda of the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said at a news conference.
The senators addressed what they want the president to talk about – topics ranging from transportation to cybersecurity. But they said that they expected more of the same from a president they seldom agree with.
“Looking at the rollout of what he’s expected to talk about tonight – speaking of warmed over proposals, – it looks like the same old tax and spend that the president has been advocating for the last six years,” McConnell said.
While moving the economy forward and improving cybersecurity are issues that the GOP considers important, the senators said they hoped the president’s speech to a joint session of Congress and a large television audience would be aimed at bringing the country together.
“I hope the president says something that can unite us,” Ohio Senator Rob Portman said. “I hope he can look at the results of the 2014 election – it wasn’t just about the Republican majority, it was about the American people saying, ‘we want you to get together and get some things done.’”