Stacey Abrams became the first black woman and the first Georgian to give the response to the State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
She spoke for about 10 minutes after President Donald Trump highlighting bipartisan efforts in Georgia to overhaul the criminal justice system and slammed the federal government shutdown.
But long before her speech began she was already getting advice about what to say.
After the November election, Abrams ended her campaign for Georgia governor against Republican Brian Kemp, but she did not concede the election, and said she planned to launch a voting rights group to file “major” litigation challenging election policies instead.
But for Abrams supporters the night was her time to shine. Many of them claimed to boycott Trump’s speech or waited impatiently for hers.
Abrams deliverd her remarks from the HQ of the IBEW labor union in downtown Atlanta, and started her speech with a nod to the Lunar New Year and a story about her working-class parents.
Abrams didn’t mention any plans for her political future, but plenty of people had thoughts on her next steps.
Stacey Abrams is presidential. Skip the Senate, Stacey. Run for president.— Broderick Greer (@BroderickGreer) February 6, 2019
But not everyone was ready for that.
I think she missed the boat. This is not a response to the SOTU. This is a poorly written monologue about her losing her election. #SOTUResponse— Julie Kay (@RedHeadedYooper) February 6, 2019
Why did the #Democrats pick Stacey Abrams to reply to #POTUS. #StaceyAbrams is out of her league and as articulate and persuasive as a painful root canal. A Non-Leader whose only claim to fame is losing a gubernatorial election 🇺🇸 #SOTU #SOTU2019 #MAGA #Trump— Melissa Sabarese (@msabarese) February 6, 2019
And they recalled some issues of her Georgia run for governor.
Abrams was dinged during the governor’s race for giving money to her campaign, instead of using that money to pay off her debts.
Abrams acknowledged her debts, but she has said she was not shirking her obligation to pay them — just doing it through a payment plan.
WATCH | Stacey Abrams discusses her debt
A prominent Georgia conservative graded Abrams’ speech.
A for Abrams' delivery. F for the creepy backdrop. And I disagree with her points, but she was wayyyyyy better than that Kennedy guy last year.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) February 6, 2019
The visuals were a big topic.
Thoughts from a political video guy: So, the @TheDemocrats did a nice job picking @staceyabrams, and she did well.— Jeremiah Cox (@JeremiahCox) February 6, 2019
But you've backlit her too directly. It makes it look like she's standing in front of a green screen, and it's quite distracting. pic.twitter.com/1Mtbt6B48e
A political reporter wondered if the speech was a missed opportunity.
How much money would Stacey Abrams be raising tonight if she had an open campaign committee for a future office?— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) February 6, 2019
And even Uncle Joe got in on the tweets
Stacey Abrams achieved in a matter of minutes something Donald Trump failed to do in over an hour -- to embrace and give voice to the spirit and core values that make America great.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) February 6, 2019