POLITICS

Curt Clawson Pushes Personal Liberty, Teamwork In Tea Party Response To State Of The Union

Rep. Curt Clawson (R-Fla.) delivered the tea party response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday, focusing on personal liberty and teamwork -- along with a lengthy story about his college basketball career.

"President Obama just presented his proposals for America -- pretty much the same rhetoric we’ve heard for the past six years. I’m not here to pick apart his ideas one by one -- but rather to offer a very different vision for our nation," Clawson said.

Clawson stressed that individuals were key to achieving the American dream, not government.

"Our vision is not based on wealth redistribution, but rather on economic liberty, private enterprise and wealth creation that benefits everyone ... We want opportunity for all but favoritism for none!" he said in the response, which was hosted on the Tea Party Express website.

The Florida congressman also told a lengthy story about how putting aside players' individual differences led to success when he was on Purdue University's basketball team.

"At Purdue, our biggest challenge was not the other team. It was in our own locker room," he said. "To win -- we had to learn to work together."

"Now of course, I understand the enormous challenges facing our country are far more complex than bringing a diverse basketball team together," Clawson continued. "But I still say teamwork is essential in all walks of life. And I also say that liberty is the great equalizer in our country."

Clawson, who has an MBA from Harvard Business School, also discussed the economy, pushing to cut small business and corporate tax rates by half, to achieve economic growth of 5 percent each year and to reverse the effects of the Affordable Care Act.

"We also need to lift the economic shackles of Obamacare ... We’ve got to replace Obamacare with a fair, patient-focused, market-based system. And no one should lose their health care," he said.

He also invoked former President John F. Kennedy on taxes, quoting him as saying: “The final and best means of strengthening demand among consumers and businesses is to reduce the burden on private income and reduce the deterrents to private initiative which are imposed by our present tax system.”

Clawson said that Obama should approve the Keystone pipeline as a move toward energy independence that could help small businesses.

On the issue of immigration, Clawson emphasized the need to help those trying to enter the country through legal means and to protect jobs for those who are already American citizens.

Clawson spoke briefly "to those who speak Spanish," then repeated the message in English: "We all believe in God, the family, hard work, and liberty. The law must be followed. You are all welcome with us. We are all the same. Of course. Our house is your house."

He concluded with comments about "the global terrorist threat that is radical Islam," which he said America and other nations must work together to address.

"America must lead this coalition -- but we must end the disproportionate sacrifice of American blood and treasure. Our allies must finally step up and contribute more in this fight," he said. "And we’ve got to stop getting into bad wars. Too much dying!"

Clawson won a June 2014 special election to fill the seat previously held by former Rep. Trey Radel (R), and was re-elected in November.

The Republican Party's response Tuesday night was given by conservative favorite Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

CONVERSATIONS