Members of Orange County's congressional delegation generally reacted along party lines Tuesday to President Clinton's State of the Union address, during which he stressed improvements in education and called for a balanced budget by 2002.
Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) expressed disappointment at Clinton's rejection of a proposed constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget. The president said that balancing the budget "requires only your vote and my signature," not an "unnecessary and unwise" constitutional amendment.
"I'm sorry that he came out against that, which we need desperately," Royce said. "I believe that only a constitutional amendment to balance the budget will have the staying power to empower the taxpayers against the tax spenders in Washington. I am sorry that President Clinton doesn't understand that."
Rep. Ron Packard (R-Oceanside) said of the speech, "Most of what he talks about we don't disagree on. He wants to cut taxes and balance the budget. Our concern as Republicans is how. Is he just massaging the issue, or looking for genuine long-term cuts?"
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) said, "I actually thought it was a very good speech," particularly the president's message that "our strength is in our diversity."
"I believe this was what the country needed to hear," she said of the address, which ended just as millions of Americans tuned in their television sets to hear the verdict in the O.J. Simpson civil trial.
Clinton referred to the Rev. Robert Schuller, pastor at Garden Grove's Crystal Cathedral who sat next to Hillary Clinton during the speech, as an example of the country's diversity. Schuller, who is of Dutch ancestry, and others "are all Americans from different roots whose lives reflect what we can all become when we are one America."
Sanchez said the speech seemed to have been designed to mend fences.
"I found it a positive speech and a very middle-of-the-road speech," she said. "I felt that he attempted to find common ground with both parties in an effort to put forward an agenda that we really have a chance of implementing. I see that as a positive thing."
Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach), while not disagreeing, said, "I think the president spoke at a sufficiently high level of abstraction that most Americans and most members of Congress found much to agree with."