GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Some South Mississippians have strong opinions about how the country is doing and what America should do to move forward. Just hours before President Obama's State of the Union Address Tuesday night, several groups talked about the president's job performance and what they think about his proposals.
We found a group of friends enjoying lunch at Triplett Day in downtown Gulfport. When they gather for lunch, two topics are usually off the table.
"We never discuss politics or religion," they said.
But on Tuesday, they opened up about the state of the nation.
"I think it has gotten worse over time," said one woman.
"And I disagree," said her friend.
Doris Humphrey and Betty Gallender didn't see eye-to-eye on the economy.
"The economy is slipping downward. We're printing imaginary money. We're trying to fix the state of the world with money and you can't do that," said Gallender.
"We're better off than we were eight years ago. The stock market is better. Look at the cost of gas," said Humphrey.
And when it comes to the president's plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, Gallender told us, "He says he's going to tax the rich's dividend. Well honey, the little people have a few tiny bit of dividends too, and when half of your dividends is taken in taxes, it hurts."
"Let's say he puts a tax on businesses. Businesses don't pay taxes. They just pass it on to the consumers. So it boils back down to us paying more taxes," she added.
In North Gulfport, Lee Watson was enjoying the warmer weather and liking the idea of a tax cut for the middle class.
"I'm from the poor class and so that's what I'm looking at, trying to help and get more businesses going," said Watson. "Lowering for the middle class and raising it on the one-percent, I mean, you can't hurt them. They got all the money they're going to ever need. So what's wrong with giving a little bit?"
He also liked the president's pitch for free community college for two years.
"That will help a lot of young people that's trying to get an education and do better. And they talk about crime. That will help crime, because a lot of people are going to be getting jobs," said Watson.
Back in downtown Gulfport, Robert Smith said he also supports more money for education and lifting the Cuban embargo.
"They're not a threat to us. They don't even have food. They're starving to death. By improving their conditions, we can improve our conditions," said Smith.
There was one thing they all agreed on, the president will have a tough time getting a Republican Congress on his side.
"I'd like to have the president say we're going to try to reach out and call a truce and work together over the remainder of his term," said Jim Humphrey of Gulfport.