GREENSBURG – Former Greensburg Mayor Frank Manus praised President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, and said he agrees with the president’s approach to use the power of the presidency to help people — despite Republican obstructionism in the U.S. Congress.

However, Larry Meyer, a county councilman and chairman of the Decatur County Republican Party, said that a go-it-alone approach conflicted with the president’s call for cooperation, and that Obama’s speech, while delivered well, revealed no new ideas.

The Associated Press reported that “Obama vowed … to sidestep Congress ‘whenever and wherever’ necessary to narrow economic disparities between rich and poor. He unveiled an array of modest executive actions to increase the minimum wage for federal contract workers and make it easier for millions of low-income Americans to save for retirement.”

“I think Obama is trying to do what is right,” said Manus, 83.

Manus praised Obama’s efforts to provide more Americans with health insurance and to raise the minimum wage.

The former mayor said that he would be bankrupt if he did not have health insurance, and that he thinks people should be able to live off the money they earn from a full-time job.

Manus also lamented that compromise has become a bad word. No party holds a monopoly on the right ideas, he said.

“I wish they’d quit bickering.”

“Sometimes I wonder,” Manus said, “‘Are they in there for the best of the people, or are they in there to be reelected?’”

Meyer said the president’s warning that he would bypass Congress wherever he can if it does not tackle the tough challenges is not the way to run a presidency or foster cooperation.

The councilman said he hoped that the November election will sway the powers in Congress more to the Republican side, but he suspected that the nation would remain in a holding pattern until the 2016 presidential election.

“This year is not going to be much different than last year,” Meyer said.

Meyer said that while he appreciated some of the speech, including the touching tribute to a war hero, he did not present any new ideas and failed to apologize for the people whose health insurance policies have been canceled because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare.

CNN reported that 44 percent of respondents in a poll had a very positive response to the speech, down from 53 percent last year. About a third of respondents had a somewhat positive response, and 22 percent did not like it.

Contact: Boris Ladwig 812-663-3111 x7401;

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