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Ernst Rebuttal: ‘We Heard the Message you Sent in November’

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. Joni Ernst firmly seized — and waved — the mandate Republicans believe they won in the November midterm elections, which swept her party into power in the Senate, as she delivered the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

The freshman senator from Iowa pledged Republicans will take the country on a new course that eschews Washington’s “stale mindset” and called on Obama to work with her party in the new Congress. But Ernst largely trained her sights on Washington, not President Obama, during the under 10-minute address.

“We heard the message you sent in November — loud and clear. And now we’re getting to work to change the direction Washington has been taking our country,” Ernst is expected to say. “Americans have been hurting, but when we demanded solutions, too often Washington responded with the same stale mindset that led to failed policies like Obamacare. It’s a mindset that gave us political talking points, not serious solutions.”

After Obama highlighted improvements in the economy following continued decreases in the unemployment rate and an uptick in job creation, Ernst made it clear that the U.S. economy has not yet fully recovered and much more still remains to be done.

Ernst even talked about the “sting of the economy” as something “many of us” didn’t have to read about, but “felt them every day.”

From “stagnant wages and lost jobs” to “the hurt caused by canceled healthcare plans,” Ernst painted a far rosier picture of the economy than President Obama presented moments before.

“We see too many moms and dads put their own dreams on hold while growing more fearful about the kind of future they’ll be able to leave to their children,” Ernst said.

All while sticking to conservative Republican policy ideas, Ernst also spoke about the potential for common ground with the President.

“There’s a lot we can achieve if we work together,” Ernst said in her rebuttal late Tuesday night.

That common ground includes tearing down trade barriers in Europe and reforming the U.S. tax code, both issue areas that Republicans and Democrats have heralded as potential bipartisan success stories. Ernst even notes that Obama has expressed his willingness to work with Republicans on tax reform.

But Ernst also hit President Obama’s signature health care law, repeating the all-but-impossible goal of repealing and replacing Obamacare.

She also criticized Obama over his opposition to a bill that would authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, which he recently threatened to veto.

“Will he sign the bill or block good American jobs?” Ernst said.

Ernst, who successfully pulled support from establishment and tea party groups during her election campaign, also made note of plans to continue fighting for conservative causes: “We’ll defend life,” she said.

Ernst also signaled that the GOP Congress would fight to rein in Obama’s executive action on immigration, vowing to “correct executive ovverreach.”

And speaking from the Armed Services Committee room, Ernst also called for a “comprehensive plan” to defeat “the forces of violence and oppression,” addressing renewed concerns over terrorism revived in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 17 less than two weeks ago.

“We’ve been reminded of terrorism’s reach both at home and abroad; most recently in France and Nigeria, but also in places like Canada and Australia. Our hearts go out to all the innocent victims of terrorism and their loved ones. We can only imagine the depth of their grief,” Ernst said.


  • John

    Did Ernst even listen to the Presidents speech? She wasn’t on point or respondent to the message, she was plastic and fake as if she spent too much time with a bread wrapper over her head as a child. She needs to knock off the poor baloney, she and her family have reaped more government money from CRP and subsidies than the average Iowan makes working 40 hours a week all year long. What is she going to replace the ACA with? I’m embarrassed by her and her poor little Joni stories as well as her blaming the president for both the work congress did (ACA) and the work they haven’t done (everything else).

  • Noel

    Ernst did a fine job. She is in touch with real Americans, unlike the insular narcissist in the WH. She knows what issues are important to regular Americans and she understands the problems we deal with on a daily basis. As well, she has actual achievements in her life–she has worked hard and she has served our country well, and will continue to do so in more than one capacity.

    • John Smith

      Really? Can you recall one thing she actually said that had any bearing on anything? At all? I mean, anything that in any way actually responded to the President’s remarks? Or, anything else, for that matter?

      • John

        Any officer without political connections who stood before any group and said they should shoot any person or government (or use force against the government in any way) would have been tried for sedition under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. But Ernst has connections. Wonder how she would feel if she were in Gabby Giffords shoes. She is insensitive, insincere, and inane but most of all, an embarrassment to Iowa and the country.

  • Sam

    I live 30 miles from Red Oak and was a Jr in high school when Joni refers to kids wearing bread sacks on their boots. This is an example of a young senator that is already influenced by senior senators and told what to say. That was not her speech but one that was prepared for her. What a slam on rural Iowa from someone that is representing our part of the state. I was impressed with Joni from the beginning but can easily see she is already drawn into the party politics. Such a shame and such a disgrace for the people of the people she represents.

  • Sam

    I was a supporter of Joni but tonight she left an embarrassing image of Iowa families. My hope was that she would rise above typical politics as she promised. So far, I see her as a puppet for the Republican leaders. There had to be a reason she was selected to deliver this response. That became evident tonight and the state of Iowa was the loser. Sad.

    • aightball

      “My hope was that she would rise above typical politics as she promised” And that’s where you went wrong. You believed her, as did so many other Iowans. In the end, she’s just another Republican puppet. I didn’t believe her rhetoric from the start and I think now her supporters are going to realize why she’s an embarrassment to this state.

  • John Smith

    As I noted in another thread, Senator Ernst hit ALL the TeaBagger talking point, just like she was trained to: “Repeal ACA, strip executive powers to let the Keystone XL ‘create thousands of jobs’, God bless mom and apple pies and bread bags on every American’s shoes, etc., etc., etc.”

    The Kochs must be beside themselves with the wisdom of their investment. Leaving the rest of America to wonder exactly what part of the SOTU address she was actually attempting to speak to.

  • Audrey

    Is the nation going to hear Joni Ernst’s story about the bread bags over her shoes as many times as we have? I was saying the story along with her! You can tell she loves to tell this story over and over again. We all have our own story of endurance in life. You’re a solder Joni. Move on. Let it go.

    • marcopolish

      Well, Audrey, isn’t that what YOU do, repeat things ad nauseum to get the word out, and because repetition works? Yes, it IS what you do. Guess she learned from you.

  • marcopolish

    “All but impossible” ??? You can see politically biased CNN wrote this story, wanting to slant the “news” it’s way. Typically. If you don’t like the news and you are the media, change it. The public is too stupid to catch on, after all. Isn’t that what Gruber said too?

  • RDM

    As a US senator they get a life long government pension no matter how long they serve. I hope Joni enjoys her government perks she hopes to deny others. If it weren’t so sad it would actually be funny. And to think, we traded Harkin for this ?????

  • aightball

    Typical Republican garbage. “We hate the president.” “We”ll right the president.” I see Joni continues to be an embarrassment to Iowa. Congrats, voters, on making complete fools of yourselves. Gonna be a LONG couple years before we can vote this idiot out.

    • marcopolish

      Correction: it is going to be 6 years before you get the chance. But she is going to be your new leader for at least three or four terms. Think about it. Colonel Ernst. Senator Joni. A woman Republican. Two Republican senators. A Republican Senate. Republicans running the committees. No wonder my president is going into his La Belle Indifference act; he is now about to abandon you to the million dollar speaking fees that is the province of the one percenters, like Hillary and Bill. I don’t blame you for being anxious, the great multi-cultural experiment that is the U.S. now has a chance to continue, despite your intolerance. You really should put your hate aside, it will consume you in the end. Rage on at your own self-generated phantoms at the risk of destroying your health by your own hand.

  • Lois

    Joni held the story up about her bread bags like a torch. We should be seeing great things from her to help the less fortunate in this country. Or is it really all about her?

  • Helen

    Wow! Hope this Marco guy below can get a mental health check up. Hate to meet up with him. He has some real anger management problems.

  • Bev Hope

    I was born at the beginning of World Ward II in Iowa (same town where John Wayne was born), and never, never, never heard of anybody wearing bread bags on their shoes or feet to keep them dry from rain OR from snow. Everybody around Des Moines, at least, could afford boots and extra shoes, like winter shoes, spring shoes, good shoes and everyday shoes, plus gym shoes. More than one pair of boots to most. More than one coat or jacket. I don’t know what Joanie is talking about. Never think that just because someone lived on a farm in Iowa, they were poor, Quite the opposite. Most farmers do better that people from towns and cities, and know about both.

    • John A

      The bread bags were required possibly for a couple of reasons. 1 she was irresponsible and lost her boots. 2. her parents and teachers were tired of her tracking pig mud and testicle remnants around on her shoes.

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