With hardly a mask in sight, President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address at the Capitol Tuesday night, with support and praise running along party lines.

Biden used the speech to move the country into the next phase of the pandemic, and to attack Russian President Vladmir Putin over the attack on Ukraine and issued the tough sanction of banning Russian planes from U.S. airspace, which brought the evening's most partisan moments.

"Let each of us here tonight in this chamber send an unmistakable signal to Ukraine and to the world. Please rise if you are able and show that yes, we the United States of America stand with the Ukrainian people," Biden said to applause from both sides of the aisle.

Biden acknowledged the continuing impact of the pandemic and spiraling inflation.

"Last year, COVID-19 kept us apart. This year, we are finally together again," Biden said.

"With all the bright spots in our economy, record job growth and higher wages, too many families are struggling to keep up with the bills. Inflation is robbing them of the gains they might otherwise feel. I get it. That’s why my top priority is getting prices under control," Biden said.

Biden's comments won support from Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen wearing her Ukraine-U.S. flag pin to the State of the Union address
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen wearing her Ukraine-U.S. flag pin to the State of the Union address (Sen. Jeanne Shaheen)

"His message of unity and fortitude"

Shaheen took a swipe at the Trump administration and said that Biden inherited the pandemic, a struggling economy, national security challenges, and strained relationships with the country's allies.

"President Biden’s determination to end the vitriolic partisanship and discord that our nation knew for four years put the United States back on track. Tonight, his message of unity and fortitude to the American people reflects his actions of the last year and comes at a time when our nation – and world – needs it the most,” Shaheen said in a statement.

Shaheen, who wore a pin with Ukraine and U.S. flags to the speech, also praised Biden's handling of the situation.

"Because of the President’s leadership, the global community has brought to bear the punitive repercussions against Putin that we promised, and has rallied around the Ukrainian people in their time of need," Shaheen said.

Rep. Chris Pappas, Rep. Annie Kuster at the State of the Union address 3/1/22
Rep. Chris Pappas, Rep. Annie Kuster
at the State of the Union address 3/1/22 (Rep.Chris Pappas)

"The State of the Union must always serve to unite our country"

Hassan was also supportive of Biden's message and was pleased that he included the substance misuse crisis and the mental health crisis among his priorities.

"We must continue to fund efforts to address these critical, interconnected issues that the pandemic has exacerbated. And in particular, I urge Congress to come together to pass my bipartisan legislation, the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act, to allow health care providers to more effectively treat patients suffering from substance use disorder," Hassan said.

“The State of the Union must always serve to unite our country and remind us of the common goals that tie us together. I remain steadfast in my commitment to working across party lines to find bipartisan solutions to the challenges that we face at home and abroad and to keep our country safe, secure, and free," Hassan said.

NH Democratic chairman Ray Buckley also liked what he heard Biden say during the speech.

“Under the leadership of President Biden and New Hampshire’s federal delegation, our country has seen unprecedented job creation and historic economic growth – the fastest economic growth since 1984 and the most jobs created in a single year," Buckley said. "While Republicans have no solutions to provide relief for Granite State families, President Biden tonight laid out a comprehensive vision to revitalize American manufacturing and to bring down costs of everyday expenses that Granite State families face like prescription drugs, energy bills, education, and housing."

Criticism of the Speech

The Republican candidates in the First Congressional District primary took to their respective Twitter accounts to slam the speech.

Gail Huff Brown in a statement said Biden's speech tried to make the country believe the state of the union is strong, and his policies have made it less safe.

"He must take immediate action to restore American energy independence, resume construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, rein in his reckless spending, and secure our border," Brown said.

Karoline Leavitt was blunt in her reaction and called Biden the worst president in United States history and called Vice President Kamala Harris "an embarrassment."

"The only people better off today than one year ago are Vladmir Putin, the Taliban, and Mexican drug cartels," Leavitt said in a statement.

Rep. Tim Baxter offered running commentary of the speech on his Twitter account, while Matt Mowers said that "Joe Biden’s disastrous policies and incompetent leadership crippled our energy independence," in several tweets.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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