Watch CBSN Live

Rep. Paul Broun Stands by "Socialism" Tweet


On a night when most members of Congress went out of their way to avoid brash displays of partisanship, Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun did just the opposite: During President Obama's State of the Union address last night, he tweeted, "Mr. President, you don't believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism."

On's "Washington Unplugged" today, Broun said, "I stick by that tweet."

Republicans and Democrats sat intermingled in the House chamber during the State of the Union in a show of civility intended to honor wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). The Arizona lawmaker was injured in a mass shooting in Tucson that spurred legislators and others to discuss whether giving each other hyperbolic labels like "socialist" or "Nazi" could lead to violence.

Broun told CBS News Senior Political Producer Jill Jackson that he agrees there could be more civility in Washington. "I think the personal attacks a lot of people do are probably not good for the country," he said.

However, he said that his tweet was an accurate description of the president's political philosophy.

"Mr. Obama believes in central government where the federal government controls everything in our lives," he said. "That's socialism."

Broun said he's worked with Democrats on issues as divisive as health care reform but that the gulf between Republican and Democratic philosophies is hard to bridge.

"There's a wide difference between the philosophy of the Democratic leadership...They believe the government should do everything for everybody and take care of every human endeavor," he said, "whereas Republicans...overwhelmingly believe in freedom [and] the free market."

Broun said the "philosophy of big government" that Mr. Obama and other Democrats promote is "killing the free enterprise system" and that the federal government must be scaled back in order for private businesses to thrive.

While the economy has grown since Mr. Obama took office in 2009, Broun said the president "hasn't done a thing to help this economy. The resiliency of the American economy is the only reason we don't have a worse economy than we have today."

Broun said there are many "domestic enemies of the Constitution -- those who want to pervert it, those who want to change it" -- who should be thwarted.

"There are some in black robes sitting on federal benches all across this country. They're Democrats, Republicans, liberals and even conservatives that pervert the Constitution," he said. "We've got to go back to very limited government."