Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who will give the Republican response to the State of the Union address, is considered one of his party’s lead contenders for the 2016 nomination, but so are a few other politicians who delivered the GOP answer to the State of the Union in years past.
In 2011, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, gave the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union. Delivering the response from the Budget Committee room, Ryan used his speech to promote his plans for cutting spending, reducing the national debt and pushing for job growth. Ryan eventually was chosen as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012 and could launch a presidential bid of his own in 2016.
Preceding him in 2010 was Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who was then vice chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association. McDonnell gave his speech from the House of Delegates’ chamber in Richmond, speaking in front of a live audience. McDonnell, who was mentioned as a potential vice presidential candidate, is limited to one term as governor of Virginia, so he may be looking for new work, perhaps by running for president.
And then there was Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose 2009 speech was better remembered for its halting delivery than its substance. Some people likened him to the “30 Rock” character Kenneth the Page. But Jindal, who was also considered a vice presidential possibility in 2012, has continued his ascent in the Republican Party and worked on his public speaking in recent years as he became a surrogate for both Rick Perry and Mitt Romney in last year’s election, practice that could help him if he gears up for a presidential run of his own.
Last year, then-Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels delivered the GOP speech. Daniels considered a presidential bid in 2012 but ultimately decided against it for family reasons. Daniels left politics in January to become president of Purdue University.