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Social media on Obama speech mirrors Americans' frustration

By Mallory Simon, CNN
  • CNN monitored Tweets, Facebook posts by Americans, politicians during speech
  • Users divided over whether Obama's words will amount to action or remain just rhetoric
  • Some questioned talk of curbing spending while announcing new initiatives
  • Others wondered if Obama spent too much time insinuating blame on past administration

(CNN) -- The tone of tweets on Twitter and posts on Facebook in reaction to President Obama's State of the Union speech Wednesday night were in contrast to the optimistic comments on his speeches to Congress in September and during his inauguration.

Social media users showed more frustration compared with the more hopeful tones in the past, with many saying they hoped the president's rhetoric would lead to more action.

Their frustrations with the lingering economic doldrums, high jobless rates and the battle over health care are reflected in Obama's approval ratings. They have dropped from 76 percent to 49 percent since February. Social media comments echoed those sentiments.

Some users, including members of Congress, continued to find hope in Obama's words, which they said moved them to believe the country can turn around. Others saw the speech as simply political rhetoric and sometimes contradictory. monitored Facebook posts and tweets during Obama's speech. Here is a sampling of how users felt about the speech, divided by topic and issue.

Inspirational words or all talk, no action?

"i love my obama but i hope he cuts the euphemisms and get to the point tonight... people r broke and mad." -- Twitter user parlorwest

"yes, give us the reality, we've heard the inspiring speeches #SOTU" -- Twitter user Wise_Diva

"No, Mr. President. Our Union is not strong - it's more divided than ever. #SOTU" -- Twitter user josephgruber

"I don't want a tax cut per se I want CASH NOW!! And real health care! #sotu" -- Twitter user ActsofFaithblog

"It's just more words from Obama. He can't keep his campaign promises and he wont keep these either." -- Twitter user scpolitico

"Voted for Obama and support him, but we need to see some results. Remember when health care was supposed to be done over the summer? Yeah..." -- Heather Wade on Facebook

"SOTU not inspiring. People are asking "where's the beef". Talk is cheap. Need more than rhetoriic" -- Twitter user, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina)

"Obama just promised comprehensive energy reform! And free pony rides for me and all of my friends! #sotu" -- Twitter user PUNTE

"A year ago, I believed in Obama's to-do list. With his 1st #SOTU, I know he's just empty rhetoric and I've gone nothing but skepticism." -- Twitter user MattGoldberg

Overall thoughts on the speech

"Americans have made clear that bigger government is not the answer to our challenges and conservatives are listening," "Despite his resistance, we will not relent until we get this message across to the President" -- Twitter user, Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia)

"Obama moves me to make this country better. Bush moved me off the couch to change the channel" -- Twitter user russpalmer

"Obama -Second place not good enuff. Oh dear lord... it's not a competition.. and we shouldn't be cheerleaders" -- Teresa Boze on Facebook, discussing Obama's comments that the U.S. shouldn't be in second place.

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"Good, solid speech, important focus on Senate action!" -- Twitter user, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon)

"My reaction to the SOTU? I'm moving to Canada. They may be socialist but they are more conservative than Obama could ever dream of." -- Twitter user RayLevesque

"Obama thinks he can change the tone of our politics. Yeah. Your resignation would be a good start. #justsayin #sotu" -- Twitter user JennLRyan

"Thank you, Obama, for making me slightly less terrified about the future of this country, if only for one night. Good dude. #stateoftheunion" -- Twitter user otokoyaku

"What keeps us going, Mr. President, is that a term is only 4 years. #SOTU #TCOT" -- Twitter user scrappleface

"Obama is making an awful lot of promises tonight. Who's holding him accountable? #SOTU" -- Twitter user Megs723

"Obama's idea of defense has been to stick his head in the sand & wave the white flag rather than fight for liberty & wave the US flag." -- Twitter user makeCAspecial

"Barack Obama's facebook status has changed to "its complicated" with America. He is still looking for "whatever I can get."" -- Twitter user Gurubanks

Watch one iReporter's take on president's speech

"Yes, Mr. President, Strength of American people resides in us. Stop trying 2 take that from us. You don't know better #stateoftheunion #SOTU" -- Twitter user Halley5

Focusing on jobs and the economy

"The only way Obama know how to create Jobs is to nationalize something and have someone else pay for it." -- Twitter user RightWingArtist

"The President effectively changed the subject tonight from HCR to the economy, fiscal responsibility, & the need for more bipartisanship. ... Now it's up to him and us to act in response to his invocation tonight." -- Twitter user, Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut)

"Jobs bill, it better be like oh building up our infrastructure, jobs that do more than spend money for the sake of spending" -- Josh Tway on Facebook

"How does he know what it's like to be unemployed and hurting - no clue" -- Maureen Murray on Facebook

"YES! That is very good news! $30 billion in credit for small businesses!" -- Megan Whilden on Facebook

"The stimulus has NOT worked. We were promised unemployment would not go above 8%. It is over 10% now" -- Twitter user, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA)

"I support and share President Obama's commitment to job creation, starting with small businesses" -- Twitter user, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pennsylvania)

"#SOTU Pres. Spend-A-Buck wants to convince us he's fiscally responsible. Knew it, not buying it." -- Twitter user Dean_L

Tone of the speech

"Obama just set the tone "never been more hopeful" Really great. #sotu" -- Twitter user zandrazuno

"told you obama was biting back tonight. he's holding folk accountable as he should. wow he's starting to really resemble caricatures of him" -- Twitter user JNez

"Not giving up #climatechange #healthreform nor jobs. If #sotu had soundtrack, it'd be Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down"" -- Twitter user jcohntnr

"Despite all the gloom & doom, Obama's downright chummy tonight. Big smiles, smooth jokes. Too relaxed? #SOTU" -- Twitter user davecatanese

"Obama sounds like Otter in Animal House. Well we're not going to sit here & let you bad mouth the United States of America." -- Twitter user JBFlint

"Oh my God, we hired a comedian. #SOTU" -- Twitter user elizabite, referring to some jokes Obama made during speech

"Obama is single-handedly trying to throw the dems on his back and get them to toughen up. Last week's message received, loud and clear." -- Twitter user filthyfowl

"I realize I'm biased, but I think this #SOTU is a disaster. He's coming off defensive, arrogant & condescending." -- Twitter user Skitzzo

Contradictions from Obama?

"#SOTU Blame Wall Street in one clause, & the next decry partisanship and division. Er, yeah." -- Twitter user edmorrissey

"In one breath,9for a national energy tax that will send jobs overseas" -- Rep. Dan Burton, (R-Indiana)

"Where is Obama going to get the money for all these promises? More national debt??" -- Twitter user BluegrassPundit

"Listening to Obama talk about cutting spending is like listening to a fat kid talk about dieting while eating cake #sotu" -- Twitter user franklazaro

iReporter wants goals instead of promises

"Pres Obama was talking spending freeze earlier today but STOU is full of billions and billions of new spending. Can you say inconsistent?" -- Twitter user PaulKohls

The blame game

"AND.... Bush's Fault. Again. Grow up. You CAMPAIGNED HARD for the job. Man, I want to put him in a time out for whining. #SOTU" -- Twitter user snarkandboobs

"McCain just said "Blaming it on Bush." #pepaw #scarysmile #sotu" -- Twitter user mjjaaska

"You did take office in ordinary times. Things are usually going up or down. Ordinary. Get over it. #sotu" -- Twitter user JennyErikson

"can't he just say, "I blame Bush for everything" and cut out like 45 min of this thing? #sotu" -- Twitter user AdrienneRoyer

Working across the aisle

"Liking what I'm hearing from Obama tonight...want to see more bipartisan efforts!" -- Joshua Baron on Facebook

"Emphasizing science, techology, engineering and math is critical to our future success and that is an effort I agree with the Pres. #SOTU" -- Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Virginia)

"I only hope my Republican colleagues use this moment as an opportunity to re-think their strategy of mindless obstructionism." -- Twitter user, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut)

"thank you, no need to cower just because you don't have a supermajority" -- Dominique Hazzard on Facebook

"If the President is serious about working together to find solutions, we remain open and eager to share our ideas." -- Twitter user, Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia)

"Obama promoting non partisanship while delivering one of the most partisan SOTU speeches i've heard #SOTU" -- Twitter user ScottDismuke

"Tonight was a reminder that it's time to set aside our differences and focus on working together to restore the American Dream for families." -- Twitter user, Rep. Russ Carnaham (D-Missouri)

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