"Let’s look at this speech and underline everything you agree with,” the former presidential candidate said. “If Ronald Reagan had given this speech, and you read it -- and, not knowing who gave it -- you could see that it was almost identical to something he would have said."
Gingrich continued, claiming that Obama left some of his rhetoric open to interpretation in ways that conservatives could use to bolster the movement's goals.
“Because he talked about having a good work ethic, I’d say: ‘Let’s reform unemployment compensation, with a requirement that you educate yourself so you can get a new job -- because we should not be paying people to do nothing’ -- and we can cite it as being a part of Barack Obama’s agenda,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich strongly disagreed with Obama on other points, including a bold call by the president for the nation to join together and lead on finding a solution to climate change.
“But 20 percent is goofy left-wingism -- and we’d cheerfully fight him on that. The whole section about climate change is nonsense," Gingrich said. "The great energy revolution we’re living through is called ‘oil and gas.’”
Gingrich was not the only one to draw the Reagan comparison following Obama's speech. Many pundits saw Obama's address adopting the unapologetic, combative style of Reagan's first inaugural in a move to debunk conservative ideas. Some conservatives balked at the comparison, however, because the politics of Obama's message allegedly stood in ideological opposition to Reagan's.
HuffPost's Sam Stein reported Monday on the broader tone of Obama's speech:
What the administration now confronts is the issue of legacy. The accomplishments of the first term have given Obama an already exalted status among his base. But inside the White House, there is a tangible sense of hope (and, perhaps, a bit of trepidation) about what’s to come. Immigration reform, the ending of the war in Afghanistan, the protection of gay rights, the passage of gun laws, the execution of health care and banking reform, and the revamping of the tax code and social safety net are all on the docket. The means of addressing them is the great unknown.
What Monday’s speech did, more than anything else, is provide a window into those means. This isn’t the same Obama who, upon coming into office amid an economic crisis, called for an end to the politics of division. It was a more jaded, ostensibly realistic Obama, demanding that divided politics no longer be used as an excuse for inaction and promising to not accept such a cynical status quo.