Elisabeth Meinecke
Denying that her speech was in competition with the official GOP response, Rep. Michele Bachmann delivered a brief but upbeat answer to President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday. She had clarified to CNN earlier that the Tea Party Express had invited her to speak approximately a month ago and she had had no idea that networks would pick up the speech.

Using a collection of charts to show the troubling trends in the national deficit and U.S. employment percentages, Bachmann criticized Obama's plan for economic recovery -- basically, spend more -- and took on spending levels in general, saying deficits were unacceptably high under President Bush but exploded under President Obama. 

Bachmann had a list of specifics on policies Obama could adopt: stop the EPA from a job-killing cap and trade policy, support a balanced budget amendment, turn back some of the 132 regulations imposed in the last two years that could cost at least $100 million, repeal ObamaCare in favor of free market solutions, and adoptan energy policy that increases production and diminishes foreign oil dependence.

She and the president both talked about American innovation, but Bachmann said the way to do that is by reducing the tax and regulatory burden on job creations. They also both mentioned medical malpractice reform (Obama credited the GOP with the policy initiative).

While the president referenced personal success stories of individual Americans, Bachmann drew on the example of Americans fighting against repression with the famous image of soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima, displayed on a screen behind her towards the end of the speech.

Elisabeth Meinecke

Elisabeth Meinecke is TOWNHALL MAGAZINE Managing Editor. Follow her on Twitter @lismeinecke.