By Mary Orndorff Troyan, Gannett Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday night did nothing to persuade South Carolina's Republican members of Congress that the White House will be an ally in tackling the federal deficit.
"He mentioned all these spending programs but he's not going to pay for them," Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land, said in an interview after the speech. "I just don't think he gets it."
Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale, said he regularly finds himself agreeing with things the president says in speeches - such as avoiding massive cuts to the military - but the actions that follow don't always live up to the goal.
"What I saw was a disconnect over and over between his words and the reality of the American people," Wilson said.
Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, said he doubted Obama's definition of job creation.
"I'm afraid he really means that he's going to focus on undermining gun rights, raising taxes, climate change, more government regulations and higher levels of government spending," Duncan said in a prepared statement.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., entered the House chamber for the speech and immediately went for a seat near his former House colleagues. Scott was appointed to replace Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who left the Senate in January. This was his first State of the Union speech as a senator.
"To call for even more government spending and even higher taxes is borderline unbelievable," Scott said in a statement. "Taking more money out of the pockets of hardworking American families is not the way to kick start our economy."
One part of the speech that got the attention of members of the South Carolina delegation was Obama's reference to modernizing America's ports.
"That would be terrific, and that was a very unexpected proposal," Wilson said. "But the details are important, and there is always a concern that what he said is not what happens."
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, said he agreed with Obama's broad references to immigration reform, but said the specifics will likely be where they disagree. Gowdy is chairman of the immigration subcommittee on the House Judiciary Committee.
"So when he talks about border security, I don't know anyone who disagrees with that," Gowdy said. "But if he views the border as currently being secure, then we're not as close to immigration reform as some may hope."