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Citizens sound off on Obamas State of the Union
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Joan Collins thinks President Barack Obama is doing his level best to turn the economy around. It’s hard to get things back especially during a period of deep recession such as what is happening right now, she said.

“He’s trying; he’s really trying, I think, to turn things around,” said the longtime businesswoman, sharing what she thought of the president’s State of the Union address.

“I thought it was good myself,” she said of the message delivered by the president to his fellow Americans.

Her reaction was mirrored by retired business owner and church volunteer Lillian Cushman, owner for more than two decades of the now-defunct Pietro’s Restaurant in Manteca.

“He wasn’t boring. What I heard was really interesting,” Cushman said of the president’s report on the country’s economy, jobs, schools, unemployment and a plethora of hot-button issues and concerns that are on the forefront of Americans’ minds today.

Joyce Gatto was on the same page with Collins in their assessment of the president’s job performance to date. Listening to his message, Gatto said, “It sounded to me like he’s trying hard to do what he needs to do. There are a lot of things that need to be straightened out, and hopefully he’s going to do it. He’s our president and you just hope that he will do the best for his country.”

That is what Cushman was thinking, too, as she listened and watched the president deliver his relatively short message to his countrymen Tuesday night.

“He talked about the schools and the jobs, but you hear stuff like that and you wonder, is it really going to happen? Or, is it just talking?” she wondered cautiously.

But Collins, Gatto and Cushman all agreed that although the president, like a lightning rod, is the one who gets the blame for every ill that’s happening to the country and the world, they said the blame really should be spread around.

The president gets ridiculed and criticized by people who disagree with him and “whatever he does,” but “he has a really big job. And it’s not like he’s the only one that makes the decisions. He’s the one that gets blamed for everything that happens, but he has other people that are accountable also,” Cushman said.

“He doesn’t have full say about anything,” was Collins’ comment which mirrored what Cushman stated.

“The president does not have full say about anything. He has to go along with his advisors, but everybody blames him for anything. Everything that happens, it’s his fault. (He is) the whipping post. This is like when you do volunteer work. You get more flak when you volunteer than when you get paid for a job,” said Collins who has had her fair share, and still does, of doing volunteer work through the years.

Collins, as well as Cushman and Gatto said they are registered Democrats. But come election time, they do not vote by party line. They said they go for whoever they think and hope will do the best job as president.

Cushman goes even farther than that. She said she prays before every election.

“You have to pray. When the presidential election comes around, even if I don’t vote for that president (who wins), I pray. Whoever gets it, our job is to pray for those in authority over us. So I pray for the president of the United States; he needs God, too,” said Cushman who gets up at 5 o’clock every morning to start her day with prayer.

The president’s message on the current state of the nation, particularly on the subject of jobs and the sluggish economy, hit Collins close to home and was part of the reason she was glued to her television set.

“My daughter was laid off from her bookkeeping job in Dallas, Texas. The company was making plenty of money but it was their chance to just get rid of a lot of people and downsize so that their profits (will increase). She said the company had their main office in Denver, Colorado, but Dallas was the one that was making money. She’d been with (the company) for seven to eight years. She’s been out of work for probably a year. She just took a job just to have benefits as a dispatcher at a plumbing company. She just took what she could get at minimum wage,” Collins said.

Her daughter’s children are grown and she lives alone.

Gayle Foster had a Bible study during the time the president was delivering his State of the Union address but she had it recorded so she could watch it when she got home. Even though she had not yet listened to the president’s address, she had plenty of things to say about what is going on in the Obama administration.

“I’m a Republican. I’m not pleased, and I’m not happy with things going on,” such as some of the people that the president has appointed to powerful positions. But some of them are “okay, too,” she admitted.

“It can’t be all bad, of course,” she commiserated.

But one thing that “I can’t agree with” is the president’s health care program, or “the ObamaCare,” Foster said.

“I hate to sound like I don’t care about the poor, because people think that’s what it’s all about, and that he wants everybody taken care of,” Foster explained.

“It’s just unbalanced, to me,” she said of the so-called ObamaCare, “because I’m on Social Security and I have to pay for my Medicare, and that comes out of my pocket. So I have to have supplement. My Social Security didn’t go up, but my Medicare did and my prescriptions went up. And then there are people who just get things free. I don’t like it.”

Even when she was a single mom, “I didn’t get welfare; I worked. I worked hard,” Foster said.

While raising her children, she said, “I was in a position where I could see people getting things for free. I saw people getting free dental when I took my daughter to the dentist,” and she had to pay for the dental fee out of her own hard-earned money.

“I just think it’s a step toward socialism,” she said of ObamaCare.