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Did Obama "Set the Tone" for Bipartisanship?

"Tone starts at the top," White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told CBS News' Katie Couric tonight on a Webcast following President Obama's State of the Union address.

And Mr. Obama set the tone for legislators to put their differences aside in order to help their constituents, Jarrett said.

"The president took a very bold step this evening... by saying, 'Remember who you're here to serve,'" Jarrett said. "The American people have one thing in common right now: they're struggling. [The speech] was a call to Washington to listen to them."

In reaction to the president's speech, however, some Democrats and a number of Republicans focused on their partisan differences.

House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) sparred over the president's proposals for helping community banks and small businesses.

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele said the president has not seriously considered Republican ideas.

"Tonight, after a year of failed policies and broken promises, President Obama once again demonstrated the rhetorical flair in an attempt to sound populist, if not downright 'conservative,' in addressing the very requirements for job creation his administration has ignored for the past year," Steele said. "There is just no amount of spin and blame shifting that can hide the fact that tonight the President added more zeros to an already burdensome deficit."

Republican Sen. John McCain, while taking a diplomatic tone, immediately challenged President Obama's proposal to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy.

"This successful policy has been in effect for over fifteen years, and it is well understood and predominantly supported by our military at all levels," he said in a statement.

Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said, "It is up to all of us who have been sent to Washington to work together in a bipartisan fashion to get the Federal Government's fiscal house in order." She preceded that comment, however, by saying, "This problem was not created by the current Administration. President Obama inherited a financial crisis the likes of which we have not seen for decades."

Republican Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), by contrast, pinned the blame for the state of the economy on Mr. Obama.

"He's made a bunch of promises over this last year, including one tonight that I liked about more tax relief," he said. "But we've all heard these promises before, and he simply hasn't delivered."

More Coverage of Obama's State of the Union:

Obama Vows to Fight for Jobs
Full Text of Obama's Speech
Bob McDonnell: The Government Is "Trying to Do Too Much"
Poll: 83% of Viewers Approve of Obama's Plans
Obama Upbeat as He Seeks to Reset Presidency
Obama Priorities Revealed in State of the Union Speech
Dem, GOP Leaders Spar Over Obama's Community Banks Plan
Photos: The State of the Union
Full Video of Obama's State of the Union
Katie Couric's Webcast: Analysis and Interviews
Analysis: Bob Schieffer and Jeff Greenfield
Special Report: Obama's 2010 State of the Union

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