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4 in NH praise message from president

WASHINGTON - Legislators from New Hampshire were enthusiastic with President Barack Obama's talking points centered on restoring and rebuilding America during his State of the Union speech Wednesday night.

Obama delivered the address before a divided Congress and nation focusing on the ailing economy and emphasizing jobs must be the number one focus.

"I was pleased to hear the president focus on jobs and need to do everything we can to create jobs," said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, in an interview with The Telegraph. "I was pleased to hear him renew the values in this country we all hold dear."

Shaheen believes the steps Obama outlined in his plan will unfold immediately, and she looks forward to him speaking about small businesses during his visit to Nashua on Tuesday.

Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes, a second-term congressman who is seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Judd Gregg, a Republican, was struck by the president's tone.

"I thought this was a sober and mature tone that matched the sober times we are facing," Hodes said.

Hodes said the president's speech matched his own agenda focusing on jobs, the economy and the middle class and small businesses.

"What was clear from the speech is that he really gets that jobs are our job number one," Hodes said.

Health care reform is essential, Hodes said, and was pleased the president reiterated the importance of an overhaul.

"I think he's inspired Americans to depend on their strength and resilience and a can-do spirit to get it done," Hodes said.

U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, a Democrat, was convinced by the president's efforts to revamp the economy.

In a statement, Shea-Porter said, "I'm pleased that the president is intently focusing on the middle class and their struggles in this economy. The financial crisis hit hard in 2008, and many people are still waiting for their lives to improve. It is our responsibility in Congress and it is the president's responsibility to help our nation recover."

Gregg agrees with Obama's remarks that both sides in Congress must come together to make things work.

"After coming through one of the most significant economic crises our country has ever faced, I agree with the president's remarks that we in Congress must put aside political posturing and begin to govern effectively," Gregg said. "Many of the areas that the president mentioned - from ways to support small businesses and create jobs, to energy and financial regulatory reform - have bipartisan ground where we can work together."

Gregg also was positive on Obama's call to freeze discretionary spending and approaches to terrorism but reiterated that it's up to both parties to turn things around.

"Future generations of Americans are counting on us to leave this country more secure and more prosperous than we found it," Gregg said. "Now that the president has provided his remarks, it is time for us to work together and provide solutions."