Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, in a separate tea party response to the State of the Union, said both parties had failed voters by driving up trillion-dollar deficits.
"Washington acts in a way that your family never could - they spend money they do not have, they borrow from future generations, and then they blame each other for never fixing the problem," Paul said.
Republicans sought to characterize Obama as overly reliant on government, even as the president made his case to the nation that he could generate new jobs without raising the federal deficit. Defending his policies against GOP critics, Obama said the nation needed a "smarter government" instead of a bigger one and pledged to boost the minimum wage and increase federal spending to fix roads and bridges.
Both Obama's address to Congress and the Republican responses around the Capitol sought to position each party as the champion of average Americans in a nation still grappling with high unemployment and a slow economic recovery. Republicans noted that the nation's jobless rate ticked up to 7.9 percent in January and the economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the final months of 2012.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Obama offered the American people "little more than more of the same `stimulus' policies that have failed to fix our economy and put Americans back to work. We cannot grow the middle class and foster job creation by growing government and raising taxes."
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman accused Obama of promoting "the same big-government policies that have failed to get our economy up and running again."
Paul, a tea party favorite, said both parties had been guilty of "protecting their sacred cows" and engaging in "backroom deals in which everyone up here wins but every taxpayer loses." He said he would propose to balance the budget in five years and urged lawmakers to return to their duty of passing budgets. If not, Paul said, voters should "sweep the place clean. Limit their terms and send them home."
You can watch Rand Paul's response in the player below. (Mobile and tablet users, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iEJ75z13Ao )