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Boehner: Obama State of the Union proposals sound 'pathetic'

 

House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday insisted that the next year will be spent on policy, not politics, but said it's "pathetic" if President Obama tries to offer the "same old" ideas at Tuesday's State of the Union that he's been offering in the past three years. 

The speaker, appearing on "Fox News Sunday," said those policies haven't helped the economy.

"They made it worse," he said. "And if that's what the president is going to talk about Tuesday night, I think it's pathetic. I think it's time for the president to listen to his own jobs council. It's time to go in a new direction."

The "regulatory nightmare that's coming out of Washington" is "serving as a wet blanket over our economy," Boehner added. "We need to work to fundamentally change our tax code."

Although the State of the Union address is not a campaign event, the preview of the president's speech was released this weekend by his reelection campaign, not the White House -- and it came out on the same day that voting was under way in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary. 

In the video message, Obama summarized what he calls his central mission. 

"This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class and folks trying to work their way into the middle class. Because we can go in two directions: One is towards less opportunity and less fairness. Or we can fight for where I think we need to go: building an economy that works for everyone, not just a wealthy few," he said. 

Last year, 43 million people watched the State of the Union address, making it one of the president's biggest opportunities all year to appeal to American voters. 

It's also a chance for the president to lay the ground work for his re-election campaign by drawing a contrast between his own policies and those of his GOP opponents. 

In his preview, the president highlighted the importance of domestic energy, American manufacturing and job training and education.

Those are many of the same issues Republicans are pushing, but Boehner said the president's plans -- including the delay of a transcontinental oil pipeline from Canada -- don't spur economic growth.

"The Keystone pipeline is a bipartisan issue in the Congress. Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, a lot of people, want this pipeline built," he said. "The president knows that the number one issue in America is jobs, and here's an example of 20,000 direct jobs, over 100,000 indirect jobs. And it's time for the president to say yes," he said.

Boehner added that Republicans support fundamental reform of the tax code, entitlement reform to save Medicare and an energy and infrastructure bill that aims to use royalties to pay for repairs to roads and bridges. 

"So there's a lot of work that is going to be done. And if the president will listen to his own jobs council, there will be an awful lot of unanimity between the bills that we're passing and what his own jobs council is calling for," he said.

The president delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET. He then goes on a three-day swing through five western and Midwestern states. The Republican response to the State of the Union will be delivered by Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana. 

Fox News' Steve Centanni contributed to this report.

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