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Kentucky Republicans pan Biden's State of the Union, but the state's lone Democrat in D.C. heard a 'refreshingly honest' take

Biden State of the Union
Shawn Thew/AP
Pool EPA
President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington, as House speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Vice President Kamala Harris, applaud. (Shawn Thew/Pool via AP)

The reviews of President Joe Biden's first State of the Union Address are in — and Kentucky's Republican-dominated delegation says they didn't hear answers to the laundry list of crises facing the Democratic administration.

Predictably, Republicans weren't eager to heap any praise on the battle-tested president Tuesday night.

Sen. Mitch McConnell described Biden's agenda as a "flop."

"Raging inflation, open borders, difficult challenges getting past COVID. The president has had a rough year."
Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell

But the Russian invasion of Ukraine remained top of mind for many, and Rep. Andy Barr told ABC he wanted to hear a stronger commitment to the war-torn country and a direct address to the Russian president.

"He did not give the signal that needed to do to say that, no matter what, he's going to stay with the Ukrainian people throughout this," the GOP lawmaker said. "And he didn't speak directly to Vladimir Putin in the way that he needed to, not just with strong words but with announcing important, tough actions."

Yet some tougher actions, such as a targeting of Russia's oil and gas sector, could lead to higher prices back home — a result likely to lend Republicans another avenue of attack.

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth credited Biden with correctly outing Putin's plans weeks in advance, despite ridicule by "cynics and partisans." In a statement, the Louisville lawmaker also said Biden has been "refreshingly honest with the American people" and "boxed Putin into a corner without firing a shot."

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.