In GOP response, Daniels blames Obama for economy

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WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama has resorted to “extremism” with stifling, anti-growth policies and continually tries dividing Americans, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday in the formal Republican response to the president’s State of the Union address.

Eight months after deciding not pursue a bid for his party’s presidential nomination, Daniels used his nationally televised speech to lash out at Obama and cast the GOP as compassionate and eager to unchain the country’s economic potential.

“No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant effort to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others,” Daniels said, according to excerpts of his remarks released before he and Obama actually spoke. “As in previous moments of national danger, we Americans are all in the same boat.”

Obama’s address, and Daniels’ speech, come at the dawn of a presidential and congressional election year in which the defining issues are the faltering economy and weak job market.

Obama was ready to describe his vision of attaining “an economy built to last” and an emphasis on fairness, which includes protecting the middle class and making sure the rich pay an equitable share of taxes. Led by Daniels, Republicans were firing back that it was their party, not Obama’s, that understood the best way to trigger economic growth was to get the government out of the way.

“The extremism that stifles the development of homegrown energy,or cancels a perfectly sane pipeline that would employ tens of thousands, or jacks up consumer utility bills for no improvement in either human health or world temperature, is a pro-poverty policy,” Daniels said.

He said Republicans prefer “a passionate pro-growth approach that breaks all ties and calls all close ones in favor of private sector jobs that restore opportunity for all and generate the public revenues to pay our bills.”