Paul Ryan Giving GOP Response To SOTU, But Michelle Bachmann Will Give Her Own

Early today it was announced that the GOP response to President Obama’s State Of The Union Address would be given by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin:

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan will give the Republicans’ response to the State of the Union address, once again putting the Wisconsin Republican center stage as a foil to President Barack Obama.

Ryan, who has drawn the praise of the president in the past, is “uniquely qualified to address the state of our economy and the fiscal challenges that face our country,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Friday.

The State of the Union rebuttal is always a high profile — yet sometimes risky — opportunity for an up and comer in the opposition party to give a speech on the national stage. With spending cuts and deficit reduction as a top Republican priority this year, Ryan is a natural choice for Republicans. Last year, he laid out a detailed and ambitious “road map” for deficit reduction that left little federal spending untouched — including Social Security — and only a handful of House Republicans publicly backed his spending proposals.

I was actually expecting that the response would end up going to newly elected Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is young, articulate, and represents what some think may be the future of the GOP in 4 or 8 years hence. However, the choice of Ryan seems like a good one, especially since it will be Ryan who will be taking the lead on the spending issues the House Republicans will be dealing with over the next several months.

So, a good choice. Then, this afternoon, I read that Michelle Bachmann has decided to give a “response” of her own:

We thought the speaking lineup for next Tuesday had been finalized, but there’s been a late addition. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) will deliver her own response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, to be webcast by the group Tea Party Express next Tuesday.

The group announced Bachmann’s upcoming remarks in an e-mail to supporters Friday afternoon.

Earlier Friday, Republicans had announced that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, would deliver the GOP’s response to Obama after the State of the Union address is over. Bachmann’s remarks at, apparently, will supplement the GOP response with a tea-party perspective.

I’m pretty sure that this has never happened before, although the fact that Bachmann’s speech will be webcast only means that it will get a far small audience than Ryan, who in turn will probably have a smaller audience than President Obama.

FILED UNDER: Congress, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. I must confess, I have grown to really dislike the response speeches (of course, I have increasingly been down on the SOTU as well, but that’s another discussion).

    And it doesn’t matter if I like the president or not, if i have managed to watch the SOTU I want to then hear the pundits talk about the speech, not listen to another speech (and one that has far less significance that the SOTU).

    I understand the fairness angle, but it is such a pointless and annoying exercise.

  2. Steven,

    I don’t disagree. Besides, there are never any good drinking games for the opposition response 😀

  3. It’s funny, too, because it so utterly underscores that the deliverer is NOT the President. The President has just addressed a joint session of Congress with members of the cabinet and the SC in attendance and then we are given just some person talking to a camera. Even the recent trend of giving the speech before a live audience, like a state legislature, highlights the ersatz nature of the enterprise.

  4. Brian Lehman says:

    That woman has “Sarah Palin wannabe” written all over her. Just like Palin, she has an inflated vision of herself and her importance, thinking everyone needs to hear her take on every subject. And like Palin, she sees herself as some sort of spokesman for the Tea Party. Both are annoying as heck.

  5. mantis says:

    Bachmann told us this week she wants to “repeal a president” and “repeal the Senate.” Maybe that’s what her response will be about.

  6. G.A.Phillips says:

    I would just put this up on the screen for whatever time I had to respond.

  7. G.A.Phillips says:
  8. sam says:


    ‘I must confess, I have grown to really dislike the response speeches”

    I kinda like Bobby Jindal’s speech. Or was that a 30 Rock audition tape?

  9. An Interested Party says:

    “I would just put this up on the screen for whatever time I had to respond.

    Such a response could have been given ever since Reagan was president…

    “Or was that a 30 Rock audition tape?”

    I thought it was an audition tape for MADtv…

  10. Axel Edgren says:

    The debt is just a huge number. There is not a single right-wing politician who is ready to cut debt with measures that go beyond hurting people they dislike or whose suffering they think would be “wholesome” for the country.

  11. ananair says:


    Eisenhower warns us of the military industrial …[[click here for video]]
    3 min – Aug 4, 2006
    Uploaded by RobUniv

    USA Today January 20, 2011

    *Military “mentors” quit over disclosure*
    Washington Seven retired admirals and generals hired by the military as consultants will end their advisory roles rather than comply with new regulations requiring them to divulge outside income to avoid a conflict of interest.. the former officers are among 158 Pentagon retirees known as “senior mentors”….
    A USA Today investigation found that 80 % of the mentors had financial ties to defense contractors that they were not required to reveal to the public
    Among those mentors
    . Six former generals
    .Four retired admirals
    .Former commanders advising the Marine Corps
    .Retired Air Force generals
    Anyone with ANY sense will have to question, why do we need all these aircraft carrier BATTLE groups if the main enemies are guys carrying explosives in their shoes or sending them through the parcel post of the USPS?
    A bipartisan study group of exsenators and White House aides has identified some 20 percent savings can be realized by cutting the bloated 700 billion dollar DEFENSE? budget, which does not even include the cost of the wars.
    And certainly there is waste fraud and abuse in the 80 billions spent for “intelligence” which after 9 years cannot e ven find one guy named Osama bin Laden whose face is known to millions around the world. What a bunch of incompetent jokers, they couldn’t stop 9-11. they can’t find the guy mainly responsible. my suggestion have former president George W Bush offer to pay back the money he still owes the bin Laden family,, who knows Osama might show up to collect.
    20 -percent of 700= 140 plus 10 percent of 80 = 8 total 148 billion dollars
    That required first grade arithmetic
    Today there was an article that some ceo of the Viacom corporation received 87 million dollars in compensation for one year. Instead of paying a proportionate amount of taxes, he might not pay any is smart enough to hire accountants

  12. @ananair:

    Simple answer: a great deal of our current force structure is designed to find a world war with the Soviets.

    I will say, however, that carrier groups have usefulness in terms of power projection, but also that it hardly unreasonable to suggest that we have too many of them.

  13. And before someone jumps on me: I do know that there has been some force restructuring since the end of the Cold War. However, it is clearly the case that the foundation upon which that structure rests is still very much based on a 20th Century mindset vis-a-vis threat.