Will all eyes on the current president Tuesday night, the Democrats and Republicans hoping to replace him took to Twitter to respond to Obama in real-time.
Republicans sought to outdo each other in heaping on the criticism of the president. “Mr. President, you can’t wave a magic wand and declare something free,” wrote Sen. Rand Paul about Obama’s free community college plan. Mitt Romney said Obama was “more interested in politics than in leadership.” Sen. Ted Cruz said it was “time to move on beyond President Barack Obama.” Jeb Bush and others praised Sen. Joni Ernst, who gave the GOP rebuttal to the main event. “Has there been a single proposal that any Republican has applauded? No change and thus no hope for success,” Rick Santorum asked in a tweet.
Democrats, meanwhile, wanted to show their respect for the president, while some sought to differentiate themselves from the incumbent. Hillary Clinton said Obama “pointed [the] way to an economy that works for all.” Former Virginia Gov. Jim Webb tweeted pointedly throughout the speech about criminal justice reform and economic populism, among other topics. “Not a fan of the ‘middle class’ lingo. Fighting for hard working Americans and small business isn’t about class,” the former senator wrote. Outgoing Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley touted some of the president’s proposals that he’s already implemented in his state, like raising the minimum wage. Sen. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile highlighted statistics about economic inequality.