INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, in the Republican rebuttal to President Obama's speech, called Obama's policies "pro-poverty" and warned of "national bankruptcy."
"As Republicans our first concern is for those waiting tonight to begin or resume the climb up life's ladder," Daniels. said. "We do not accept that ours will ever be a nation of haves and have-nots; we must always be a nation of haves and soon to haves.
"The extremism that stifles the development of homegrown energy, or cancels a perfectly safe 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," he said. "It must be replaced by 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."
Daniels called for a simpler tax system with fewer loopholes and lower rates and a "pause in the mindless piling on of expensive new regulations that devour dollars that otherwise could be used to hire somebody."
Daniels said it is "not fair and it's not true for the president to attack Republicans in Congress as obstacles on these questions."
"They and they alone have passed bills to reduce borrowing, reform entitlements, and encourage new job creation, only to be shot down nearly time and again by the president and his Democrat Senate allies," he said. "No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others."
Daniels said the United States must adopt "a pro-jobs, pro-growth economic policy" or "there will never be enough public revenue to pay for our safety net, national security or whatever size government we decide to have."
He said, "2012 must be the year we prove the doubters wrong."
"The year we strike out boldly not merely to avert national bankruptcy but to say to a new generation that America is still the world's premier land of opportunity."
Daniels, a former director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the subject of speculation he might run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, said "Republicans will speak for those who believe in the dignity and capacity of the individual citizen; who believe that government is meant to serve the people rather than supervise them; who trust Americans enough to tell them the plain truth about the fix we are in, and to lay before them a specific, credible program of change big enough to meet the emergency we are facing."
Daniels gave Obama credit for "his aggressive pursuit of the murderers of 9/11, and for bravely backing long overdue changes in public education."
"I personally would add to that list admiration for the strong family commitment that he and the first lady have displayed to a nation sorely needing such examples," he said.
However, he said when the president "claims that the state of our union is anything but grave, he must know in his heart that this is not true."
"The president did not cause the economic and fiscal crises that continue in America tonight," Daniels said. "But he was elected on a promise to fix them, and he cannot claim that the last three years have made things anything but worse: the percentage of Americans with a job is at the lowest in decades. One in five men of prime working age, and nearly half of all persons under 30, did not go to work today."
Daniels said "an unprecedented explosion of spending, with borrowed money, has added trillions to an already unaffordable national debt" during Obama's presidency, "and yet the president has put us on a course to make it radically worse in the years ahead."