Remember, this is all rough notes I took down while viewing the speech. Once the transcript becomes available, then some of the hazier information will be clarified. However, this is what I have down and some of the major issues that will be important for tomorrow and the future of this country under the Bush administration. This information was also posted in The Kuramei-Report, but this is the official "Portlight" edition.
President Bush's State of the Union Address dealt with several key issues, including:
1. The Middle East, Iraq, and WMDs: President Bush declared to keep WMDs out of "evil" regime's hands, including North Korea and Iran. He also that more resources will be poured into the war on terror. Bush also added that the United States will "never seek a permission slip to defend our country," regarding our insistence to bypass the U.N. to invade Iraq. He mentions Saddam and declares the US to be safer with him out of power. He also mentions 2/3 of Al Qaida's leaders have been contained or captured. However, Osama bin Laden wasn't mentioned at all during the speech.
2. The U.S. Economy and Education: He mentions the No Child Left Behind Act, legislation passed in 2001 that puts extra emphasis on elementary and secondary school education. Bush announced the "Jobs for the 21st Century" program that expands math and science in schools and the expansion of Advance Placement (AP) in poorer schools. He announced greater support for Community College to be used to train workers for the industry. He mentions a stronger and growing economy due to the tax cuts and should take advantage it because they are about to expire. He also says that tax cuts should be made permanent. Bush then goes on to propose legislation to modernize US energy productivity (i.e. the energy grid and/or alternative energy) to limit dependence of foreign oil. He then declares to spend tax dollars wisely and "cut wasteful spending." He says that will cut deficit in half over the next five years. Lastly, he mentions the illegal immigrant Temporary Worker Program where illegal immigrants will be allowed to take jobs offered by employers if native Americans (not American Indians) do not take jobs within two weeks of notice. What this legislation will allow is to have illegals documented and pay into social security and pay taxes. It's very controversial, but it is not amnesty--President Bush said himself that he is opposed to amnesty.
3. Medicare: Major issue of his speech. Newly passed legislation that will have the Federal government help senior citizens pay for their medication. Reform legislation that gives seniors the option to keep their current medicare plan or choose a plan that fits their needs. He mentions something about a saving's account (but I need to read the transcript to get a better understanding). He proposes that lower income Americans will be given tax credit to buy medication. Bush strongly declares that there must be an elimination of "wasteful" and "frivolous" medical lawsuits. However, despite the increased federal aid of medicare, Bush still endorses private medical care.
4. Drugs and sex among teens: Said that drug use in schools have dropped 11 percent. Bush called for sports organizations and unions to ban the use of performance-enhancing drugs to set a better role for young children and teens to follow.
He also proposed a grassroots program to stem the tide of STDs in teens.
5. Defense of Traditional Marriage: Bush declared that "nation must defend sanctity of marriage." If Courts continue to undermine traditional marriage, he will support a Constitution amendment to make marriage between a man and a woman a national law.
6. Miscellaneous: Called for a four-year, $30 million program to provide newly-released prisoners to get mentoring, especially from faith-based groups, so they can become productive members of society and not end up prison again. 600,000 prisoners, he says, have been released this year.
7. Democratic Response from CA. Rep. Nancy Pelosi and SD Sen. Tom Daschle: Criticizes Bush for not acquiring a true international coalition for the Iraq War and "alienating" our allies (speaking of major allies, France, Germany, Russia, China, etc.). They called his speech "truth light," because it didn't mention the $500 trillion budget deficit and the loss of 2.3 million jobs since his inauguration. Daschle claims that only 1000 new jobs have been created in the past month.
This a long summary of information, and some of it needs to be confirmed, but this is the gist of his 5000 word speech. He seemed more passionate in this year's speech than last year's. The focus is still the war on terror, but without an attack on US for over 2 years, the speech allowed other domestic issues to take the spotlight. The economy and marriage will be major campaign issues for the upcoming election. Most notably, this may be the last State of the Union under this term, or President Bush's last State of the Union speech, period. We shall see in November.