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Did Obama get Republicans to stand -- or was it you?

January 28, 2010 |  7:15 am

House Minority Leader John Boehner, Whip Eric Cantor and Texas Republican Louie Gohmert before President Obama's State of the Union address Jan. 28, 2010
It happened early in the State of the Union address, when President Obama called for lifting restrictions on nuclear energy -- a policy long championed by Republicans. But House GOP leaders sat on their hands.

A little later, Obama tried to reach across the aisle again -- this time on an issue close to the heart of most Republicans.

Now, let me repeat: We cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95% of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time home buyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college.

Still, the members of the Grand Old Party sat on their hands. So Obama teased them, saying, "I thought I'd get some applause on that one."

But as the speech wore on, Republicans started to get up on occasion. They applauded when Obama talked about offshore drilling. They clapped for his embrace of trade and of America as a job creator.

The question: Did Republicans finally start getting to their feet in response to Obama's nudge? Or, as MSNBC's First Read suggested this morning, did they notice all the criticism they were getting on Twitter and various blogs and decide, finally, that they better get up on the right side of history?

Whatever their PR motive in rising or sitting during the televised speech, Republicans made clear that they are not going to suddenly start acting conciliatory. “I was very disappointed," said Minority Whip Eric Cantor. "You have to give the guy an incomplete.“

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: From left, Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas; Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House minority whip; and John Boehner of Ohio, the House minority leader, on the House floor before President Obama's State of the Union address Wednesday. Credit: Associated Press

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