(CNSNews.com) - "This was less a State of the Union than it was a state of denial," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Tuesday night, after President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address to Congress.
"He refused to acknowledge the very real challenges facing this country on Iran," Cruz said of the president.
"He didn't say a word about two Navy ships now in Iranian custody, about ten sailors we hope not held as hostages...but the fact that (Ayatollah) Khamenei feels that he is able to seize our ships, and seize our sailors indicates the incredible weakness of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy. And the fact that bullies and tyrants across the world are not afraid of this president, don't respect this president -- and it's made the world much, much more dangerous."
In his speech, President Obama mentioned Iran twice, saying, "That’s why we built a global coalition, with sanctions and principled diplomacy, to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. As we speak, Iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile, and the world has avoided another war.
Cruz noted that Obama began his speech by telling Americans "how wonderful the economy is."
"You know, if you're a big-government lobbyist in and around Washington, that's right -- six of the ten wealthiest counties in America are in and around Washington," Cruz said. "If you're a billionaire hedge fund manager in New York, that's right -- the rich have gotten richer under Obama."
Cruz said he's hearing from working men and women -- truck drivers, electricians, school teachers, nurses, students -- "that it's getting harder and harder."
"Students have debt up to their eyeballs, they can't get jobs. Median wages have stagnated. We've got fewer Americans working than any year since 1977, since Jimmy Carter was president. And Barack Obama doesn't hear their cries. He doesn't understand that when millions of people lose their health insurance and lose their doctors because of Obamacare, that hurts them. He doesn't understand that single moms are finding it harder to provide for their kids.
"And as out of touch as he was on the econmoy and jobs, he was even more out of touch on national security. It was stunning," Cruz said.
According to Obama Tuesday night, "The United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history. More than 14 million new jobs; the strongest two years of job growth since the ’90s; an unemployment rate cut in half. Our auto industry just had its best year ever. Manufacturing has created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years. And we’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters.
"Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction," Obama insisted -- a swipe at Republicans such as Cruz.
Obama even told the American people why "a lot" of them "feel anxious": It's because the economy has been changing in "profound ways," he said -- "changes that started long before the Great Recession hit and haven't let up." (Translation: It didn't begin on Obama's watch.)
Obama mentioned technology and automation replacing human workers and allowing companies to locate anywhere. He said the answer for "squeezed" workers is to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job.
He called for "Pre-K for all," hands-on computer science and math classes, and "more great teachers."
He talked about making college affordable: "We've already reduced student loan payments to ten percent of a borrower’s income. Now, we’ve actually got to cut the cost of college. Providing two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student is one of the best ways to do that, and I’m going to keep fighting to get that started this year."
Then Obama turned to "benefits and protections": shoring up Social Security and Medicaid; and job benefits, including "wage insurance."
"Say a hardworking American loses his job — we shouldn’t just make sure he can get unemployment insurance; we should make sure that program encourages him to retrain for a business that’s ready to hire him. If that new job doesn’t pay as much, there should be a system of wage insurance in place so that he can still pay his bills. And even if he’s going from job to job, he should still be able to save for retirement and take his savings with him. That’s the way we make the new economy work better for everyone."