What is your reaction to the negative reviews of your response to President Obama's address to Congress? Tanya Gupta, WASHINGTON
I've been told for years that I speak too quickly, so I should slow down. Then when I slow down, people say, "No, you need to speak more quickly." The content is what's really important to me. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not nearly as good a speaker as the President. And certainly a lot of people in America agreed with me on that.
I live in a volatile seismic area and was troubled by your comment that funding volcano-monitoring is "wasteful." What makes some spending superfluous? Caitlin Kidder, KENT, WASH.
I listed several examples. It wasn't just volcano-monitoring. It was $300 million in new cars, a billion dollars for the Census--the list goes on and on. Here's my point: Why were they in a temporary, targeted stimulus bill? Somebody's going to have to explain to me how these items were critical to saving our economy.
What do you think of comparisons following your speech between you and a character on 30 Rock, Kenneth the Page? Jae Edward, MINNEAPOLIS
I haven't seen the show, but I hope he's a nice guy.
Are you running for President in 2012? Steve Penton, ROXBURY, N.J.
I'm running for re-election as governor in 2011. It's my hope to serve two terms and help improve my state.
Voters rejected the GOP in November. What changes do you think it needs to make in order to become relevant again? Ankit Agarwal, BOSTON
Republicans need to worry less about fixing the party and more about what we can do to fix our country. Every chance where we can agree with the President and new Congress, we should. But where we disagree--with spending, with tax increases, with the stimulus plan--we need to stand up on principle and say what we would do differently.
How can Republicans address the lack of ardent support among younger Americans? Adam Ashe BATON ROUGE, LA.
If we want to appeal to young voters, we need to show them that conservative principles will help improve their quality of life. Voters want to know the American Dream is still available to them.
Why are you turning down stimulus dollars for one of the poorest states in the Union? Sonja Blair, EDMOND, OKLA.
My responsibility is to do what's right for Louisiana taxpayers. We turned down $97 million as part of the unemployment-insurance program because it would have created a permanent state spending obligation. I think Louisiana's taxpayers are smart enough to understand that you don't spend a dollar to chase a dime.
What would your top priorities be for a stimulus package? Michael Ratliff FRANKLIN, TENN.
More help for small-business owners. Everything we can do to help them keep people employed is one less person getting an unemployment check, one less person needing help affording their health-care coverage, one more person that can afford to pay their mortgage.
Does conservative philosophy need to be tweaked, or is it sufficient for our current troubles? Brett Hampton, SALT LAKE CITY
I don't think the Republican Party needs to fundamentally change what it stands for, but it needs to take those principles and apply them. For example, everybody should be able to afford high-quality health care, but we should want that to be between a patient and their doctor, not a bureaucrat.