Archive for Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Unfinished business

Bush asks US to be patient with Iraq war, recession fears

January 29, 2008


Bush addresses nation

President Bush gave his final State of the Union address on Monday night and said while U.S. troops in Iraq are hitting enemies hard, they're still not defeated and there will be tough fighting ahead. Enlarge video

Sebelius responds to Bush's address

Governor Kathleen Sebelius gave the Democratic response to Bush's State of the Union Address on Monday night. Enlarge video

Vice President Dick Cheney watches as President Bush delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress, Monday Jan. 28, 2008, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Vice President Dick Cheney watches as President Bush delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress, Monday Jan. 28, 2008, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

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What the president's speech means to you


Bush said the U.S. troop buildup is succeeding after five years of a long and costly war that has claimed the lives of 3,940 members of the U.S. military. "Al-Qaida is on the run in Iraq and this enemy will be defeated," Bush said.


The president urged lawmakers to leave intact the economic-stimulus plan that he and House leaders agreed on last week. "At kitchen tables across our country, there is concern about our economic future," the president said.

Health care

After his proposals on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid were rejected, President Bush challenged Congress to come up with its own ideas.


Bush called for the creation of a new international clean technology fund to help developing nations make greater use of clean energy "to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases."


Bush said that Americans should be trusted with homeownership responsibilities and that we must "empower them to weather turbulent times in the housing market."

— President Bush, standing before Congress one last time, urged the nation Monday night to persevere against gnawing fears of recession and stay patient with the long, grinding war in Iraq. He pressed Congress to quickly pass a plan to rescue the economy.

"We can all see that growth is slowing," Bush said in a blunt acknowledgment of rising food and gas prices, increasing unemployment and turmoil in the housing and financial markets.

He cautioned against accelerating U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq, saying that would jeopardize progress achieved over the past year. He said plans already are set for 20,000 troops to come home.

It was his final State of the Union address and he faced a hostile, Democratic-led Congress eager for the end of his term next January. He scolded lawmakers for slipping costly, special-interest projects into bills and promised to use his veto pen to cut them.

With his approval rating near its all-time low, Bush lacked the political clout to push bold ideas and he didn't try. He called on lawmakers to urgently approve a $150 billion plan - worked out with House leaders - to avoid or soften any recession through tax rebates for families and incentives for businesses to invest in new plants and equipment.

"The actions of the 110th Congress will affect the security and prosperity of our nation long after this session has ended," the president said.

Senate Democrats want to expand the economic stimulus plan with rebates for senior citizens living off Social Security and extensions of unemployment benefits for the jobless. Bush said those changes "would delay it or derail it and neither option is acceptable."

He also pushed Congress to extend his tax cuts, which are to expire in 2010, and said allowing them to lapse would mean higher tax bills for 116 million American taxpayers. For those who say they're willing to pay more, Bush said, "I welcome their enthusiasm - pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders."

He renewed a proposal to spend $300 million for a "grants for kids" program to help poor children in struggling public schools pay for the cost of attending a private school or a better public school outside their district.

His speech lasted 53 minutes, interrupted frequently by applause, most often by Republican lawmakers.

Delivering the televised Democratic response, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius urged Bush to work with Congress and help the U.S. regain global standing lost because of the war.

"The last five years have cost us dearly - in lives lost, in thousands of wounded warriors whose futures may never be the same, in challenges not met here at home because our resources were committed elsewhere," she said. "America's foreign policy has left us with fewer allies and more enemies."

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said, "Tonight is a red-letter night in American history. It is the last time George Bush will give the State of the Union. Next year it will be a Democratic president giving it."

What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago Bush boasted that unemployment was low and the economy was on the move. Now the jobless rate has climbed to a two-year high and the nation is sagging toward recession. The economy is No. 1 on the U.S. worry list.

A major challenge for Bush in his address was simply being heard when many Americans already are looking beyond him to the next president.

His speech came hours before Florida's presidential primary election and just eight days before Super Tuesday when voters in more than 20 states go to the polls on the biggest day of the primary campaign. Republicans running for president rarely mention Bush, preferring to focus on conservative hero Ronald Reagan instead.

Before Bush arrived, his would-be successors and their well-wishers clogged the center aisle.

Sen. Barack Obama came first, followed closely by his new patron, Sen. Edward Kennedy. Clinton entered the chamber a few minutes later, equally mobbed by well-wishers. She reached out and shook Kennedy's hand. Obama, nearby, turned away.

Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the war has been a main topic of Bush's annual addresses to Congress. He said Monday night the buildup of 30,000 U.S. troops and an increase in Iraqi forces "have achieved results few of us could have imagined just one year ago."

"Some may deny the surge is working," Bush said, "but among the terrorists there is no doubt. Al-Qaida is on the run in Iraq and this enemy will be defeated."

Still, Bush said, "The mission in Iraq has been difficult and trying for our nation. But it is in the vital interest of the United States that we succeed."

He made no commitment about withdrawing additional troops from Iraq, and he said Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. general there, has warned that pulling Americans out too quickly could undermine Iraqi forces, allow al-Qaida to regroup and trigger an increase in violence.

"Members of Congress: Having come so far and achieved so much, we must not allow this to happen," the president said.

Bush said U.S. adversaries in Iraq have been hit hard, though "they are not yet defeated and we can still expect tough fighting ahead."

There are 158,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, a number that is expected to drop to 135,000 by July. There are 28,000 in Afghanistan, the highest number of the war, which began there in October 2001. Congress, despite repeated attempts, has been unable to force troop withdrawals or deadlines for pullbacks, and Iraq has receded as an issue in Washington.

Aides had said Bush would not use the address as a summation of his time in office. But he did, turning to the phrase "over the past seven years" when talking about some of the most-prized efforts of his administration: tax relief, federal involvement with religious charities, the global freedom agenda and increased funding for veterans.

He spoke of trust in people - taxpayers, homeowners, medical researchers, doctors and patients, students, workers, energy entrepreneurs and others - to drive their own success and that of the country. The unspoken message: Government isn't the answer.

Bush will turn from Monday's speech and plunge into politics, raising money for Republicans from Wednesday through Friday at events in California, Nevada, Colorado and Missouri, sandwiched around other appearances to tout themes from his speech.

Monday night, he called for an effort to crack down on the pork barrel practices of Congress, saying he will veto any spending bill that does not cut in half the number and cost of congressional pet projects, known as earmarks.

He planned to issue an executive order Tuesday ordering federal agencies to ignore earmarks that aren't explicitly enacted into law, erasing a common practice in which lawmakers' projects are outlined in nonbinding documents that accompany legislation. However, Bush's plan leaves untouched the more than 11,700 earmarks totaling $16.9 billion that Congress approved last year.

He also said he would send Congress a budget that terminates or substantially reduces 151 "wasteful or bloated programs" totaling more than $18 billion.

On two issues that were centerpieces of State of the Union addresses past - Social Security and immigration - Bush passed the buck back to Congress, which had ignored the president's earlier proposals. Contending that entitlement spending is "growing faster than we can afford," he said, "I ask members of Congress to offer your proposals and come up with a bipartisan solution to save these vital programs for our children and grandchildren."

The president also:

¢ Announced a White House summit on inner-city children and religious schools.

¢ Said that his annual meeting with the leaders of Mexico and Canada will be held this year in New Orleans, to show off recovery efforts.

¢ Prodded Congress to extend a law allowing surveillance on suspected terrorists, renew his education law and approve free-trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

¢ Recycled ideas on alternative energy, affordable health care, housing reform and veterans' care. Bush also renewed his ideas on climate change and stem cell research.

Bush made only one mention of Osama bin Laden, who remains at large more than seven years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. There was no reference to North Korea. In his 2002 address, Bush caused a stir by warning that Iraq, Iran and North Korea constitute an "axis of evil." The United States and its allies are pushing North Korea to abandon its nuclear programs.


Lenette Hamm 10 years, 1 month ago

"One last time".... ahhhhh music to my ears!!!

Rickyonealku 10 years, 1 month ago

Do you really think people will miss President Bush this time next year????? NO!!!! and our next elected president will have even more of a hard time running our government after what President Bush left behind to fix.

dagopman 10 years, 1 month ago

Let's just pray that next President is not a Clinton.

dagopman 10 years, 1 month ago

The Bush presidency has been a disaster in many ways. He may very well go down in history as a failed president, much like Carter and Clinton. History will sort all of this out. I have been reading a book about the Lincoln presidency. He was considered a failed president for several decades, yet now, he is considered one of America's great Presidents.

preebo 10 years, 1 month ago

"All hail the commander." -b3

Don't you mean seig hiel, mein Fuhrer!

I had to make the Nazi reference with a comment like that. It was too easy...

jumpin_catfish 10 years, 1 month ago

Oh policos talking, I'm sooo excited! Not

staff04 10 years, 1 month ago

Da GOPman, you're right about one thing...that Bush will go down in history as a failed President.

But Clinton?

You mean the guy that rescued our economy and created the largest budget surplus in history? You mean the President that had the highest approval rating of the last 10? I'd sure consider that a failure.

akt2 10 years, 1 month ago

He's kept the suicide bombers away after they blindsided us on 9/11. What a joke these young "new thinking" candidates are. The terroists are not going to take them seriously. They are sitting in wait for some namby pamby "new thinking" politician to get voted in.

staff04 10 years, 1 month ago

I'll take my chances with anyone else...this President has done more damage than any in history to our safety, our rights, our authority, and our prestige.

dagopman 10 years, 1 month ago

My previous comments were to merely point out that not enough history has gone by to make an accurate assessment of this president. I certainly do not anticipate him being considered one of the great Presidents, but neither will any of our recent presidents be either. Reagan is probably the greatest recent president we have had.

acg 10 years, 1 month ago

The outgoing buffoon was one of the worst Presidents in history. He bankrupted the nation, got thousands of our soliders killed in an illegal war, lied every time he opened his pie hole (and about important stuff, not a bj) and completely destroyed any foreign relations we might have. Anyone who thinks that this President has protected them from terrorists has bought into the media hype that has made you paranoid and afraid. Dubya is a criminal and should be tried for treason and punished appropriately.

JohnBrown 10 years, 1 month ago

No way Republicans can label Democrats as "tax and spend" with a straight face any more. Republicans are "borrow and spend", basically selling off the US to China and other sovereign financial interests.

We can thank Bush for the following: - a broken military, - $3 gas, - no energy plan to get us off Muslim oil, - a tanking dollar, - 3 Trillion $ debt increase, - violation of the Geneva Convention, - illegal spying on Americans (this from a man who has sworn to defend the constitution of the United States!) - a broken border ("what's that got to do with national security"?) -a failed war plan that was poorly executed, - a politicized Justice Department, - the politics of fear, again and again, - 7 years of unchallenged 'earmarks' by Republicans, - lies about why we should fight a "pre-emptive war". - the outing of a CIA operative working on nuclear proliferation for political revenge, and the commuting of the sentence for one convicted of obstructing that investigation.

There's more.

Bush is as unAmerican a president as there has ever been.

staff04 10 years, 1 month ago

The country he inherited vs. the country he leaves behind:{D68CD0B2-1442-4804-9F6B-AF67DE7FF585}&DE={FDD09C4F-E958-4E13-A92B-179C2FAC6FEA}&Design=PrintView

TheBurf 10 years, 1 month ago

I'll be happy when Bush is out of office so that I don't have to here you bitch anymore.

Confrontation 10 years, 1 month ago

Hmmmm....I tend to believe that Dubya's daddy knew his son would destroy the nation.

mmiller 10 years, 1 month ago

Kudos to Governor Sebelius last night! She represented the state of Kansas and its citizens with such class! Very nice! I'm proud to be a Kansan!

dagopman 10 years, 1 month ago


Just curious...who do you think the greatest recent President has been?

dagopman 10 years, 1 month ago

All Presidents do good things and bad things. I am not a particular fan of President Bush. I was not a particular fan of President Clinton either. I still think Reagan is the last great president we have had. We enjoyed economic prosperity and he played a major role in ending the Soviet Union as it previously existed and brought communism to its knees.

ilikestuff 10 years, 1 month ago

I hope President Bush's tax cuts are made permanent.

I hope the next President is a good and decent leader who, while understanding the need for secrecy, isn't a liar.

I hope the next President picks advisors who are all smarter than he/she. Further, I hope he/she picks at least one devil's advocate.

I hope the next President will seek to find ways to pay-off all foreign debts w/o raising taxes. The government will have to tighten it's belt. Simple or complex economics, that concept is the same.

I hope the next President will insist Congress be in session every day, Monday - Friday and encourage Senators and Congressmen/women who don't do anything to quit. No more showing up to work Tuesday afternoon - Thursday morning or not voting.

Thank you.

Kontum1972 10 years, 1 month ago

b3..yeah GB a great american hero..never made his guard meetings..a real difficult is it to fly a jet and drop bombs and squeeze the nuts! "Confront" your so right...! His dad knew what a jagg-off his son was...

B3 u can always move to another country if u dont feel safe...since your sister is leaving the white house ....what does the president know about bravery..he has never served in HARM'S his father a naval fighter pilot WW2 "we were soldiers"...and watch it a few times mb "u" will get the idea..panel 2 & 3 have all the names of those who made the sacrifice...against overwhelming odds..

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 1 month ago

dagopman someone forgot to tell China that someone "brought communism to it's knees"...

I think they missed that...

BigDog 10 years, 1 month ago

I hope the next President will insist Congress be in session every day, Monday - Friday and encourage Senators and Congressmen/women who don't do anything to quit. No more showing up to work Tuesday afternoon - Thursday morning or not voting.

Nancy Pelosi promised this when Democrats regained control of Congress. Her efforts were stifled by those in her own party when she attempted to implement it. To be fair, I don't believe she probably received much from Republicans either.

It's time they either work full-time toward coming up with solutions to problems or maybe they should only get paid by the hour for time spent in committees and session.

Working 3 days a week is a joke.

Kat Christian 10 years, 1 month ago

Reagon was an idiot! Bush is a disaster still waiting to happen and worse! Clinton was a good President, maybe not the most honest when confronted, but let's face it quality of life for the little people was good back then. That is what a President should be doing. Not making the Rich richer and the Poor poorer. Every time a Republican gets into office they stretch our economy to the hilt while the Corporate world gets richer and more powerful and the Rich get richer, while the rest of society struggles along. I'm for Democratic equality and social support not Corporate support. I'm for Universal healthcare - not there is only room for the Rich in the health care industry. This administration has outpriced the average person into a recession and if we don't get Bush out of there soon we will be in a depression and soup lines again not to mention WW III. Bush is the second idiot.

Keith 10 years, 1 month ago

b3: "I for one know that if a democrat is elected as the next president, I will not feel nearly as safe as I do now with W in office."

Hey everyone, since b3 is such a fraidy cat, why don't we just suspend the constitution and let Bush II reign for life. After all, even if a republican gets elected, he may not do as good a job of keeping the evil terrorists away as Bush II has. Or, we could just ask b3 to man up and take his chances along with the rest of us. Life ain't safe, and big brother can't protect you from those scary men who don't look like us.

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