Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Report from the media call with Adam Kinzinger on the State of the Union address

Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
About a half hour after tonight's State of the Union Address, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) held a media call about the president's speech.

Naturally in a state with a jobless rate higher than the national unemployment rate, jobs will be a topic. "We have the highest corporate tax rate in the free world," Kinzinger said. That makes American manufacturers uncompetitive overseas which of course hinders job growth. Large corporations--Kinzinger mentioned General Electric--can afford tax attorneys to find tax loopholes. Small firms aren't so lucky, but Kinzinger viewed this dilemma as an opportunity for bipartisanship. "So I think an area that we can work together on is tax reform," he commented.

Energy is an opportunity for job creation and this is an area where Kinzinger and Obama differ. Last week the president killed the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have created 100,000 jobs. Kinzinger favors Keystone.

Ohio, IL, 11th cong. district
Since late last year it's been clear that the president's campaign strategy will be to run against Congress. Which could pose a challenge in regards to getting things done in 2012.

"Well if you're willing to work with Congress," Kinzinger remarked, "it's going to be hard to run against us."

What is going to happen?

Of the plans Obama outlined tonight, Kinzinger offered, "There's a realistic side of me that says maybe it's just rhetoric, but the hopeful side says we can find some areas on which we can work together."

But Kinzinger later said of Obama's speech, "I think he is setting up his reelection message, and frankly I want to hear him set up a governing message because we still have a country to run for the next year."

I asked the House freshman about the Republican response to the president's address--a great one, in my opinion--by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. He brought up Social Security reform and made the suggestion that perhaps sending Social Security checks to the very rich is something that should be reconsidered. Kinzinger called it "an idea that is worth talking about."

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