Excerpts from President Bush's 2007 State of the Union address Tuesday:
We're not the first to come here with a government divided and uncertainty in the air. Like many before us, we can work through our differences and achieve big things for the American people. Our citizens don't much care which side of the aisle we sit on - as long as we're willing to cross that aisle when there is work to be done. . . .
A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy - and that is what we have. We're now in the 41st month of uninterrupted job growth, in a recovery that has created 7.2 million new jobs - so far. Unemployment is low, inflation is low, and wages are rising. This economy is on the move, and our job is to keep it that way, not with more government, but with more enterprise. (Applause.) . . .
[T]o keep this economy strong, we must take on the challenge of entitlements. Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are commitments of conscience, and so it is our duty to keep them permanently sound. Yet, we're failing in that duty. And this failure will one day leave our children with three bad options: huge tax increases, huge deficits, or huge and immediate cuts in benefits. Everyone in this chamber knows this to be true - yet somehow we have not found it in ourselves to act. So let us work together and do it now. With enough good sense and goodwill, you and I can fix Medicare and Medicaid - and save Social Security. (Applause.) . . .
A future of hope and opportunity requires that all our citizens have affordable and available health care. . . . And so tonight, I propose two new initiatives to help more Americans afford their own insurance. First, I propose a standard tax deduction for health insurance that will be like the standard tax deduction for dependents. . . . There are many other ways that Congress can help. We need to expand Health Savings Accounts. (Applause.) We need to help small businesses through Association Health Plans. (Applause.) We need to reduce costs and medical errors with better information technology. (Applause.) We will encourage price transparency and protect good doctors from junk lawsuits by passing medical-liability reform. (Applause.) In all we do, we must remember that the best health-care decisions are made not by government and insurance companies, but by patients and their doctors. (Applause.) . . .
Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we've done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years. (Applause.) When we do that, we will have cut our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East. . . .
America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. And these technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change. (Applause.)
[The war in Iraq] is not the fight we entered . . . but it is the fight we're in. Every one of us wishes this war were over and won. Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk. (Applause.) Ladies and gentlemen: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle. Let us find our resolve and turn events toward victory. (Applause.)
We're carrying out a new strategy in Iraq - a plan that demands more from Iraq's elected government and gives our forces in Iraq the reinforcements they need to complete their mission. . . . In order to make progress toward this goal, the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian violence in its capital. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this on their own. So we're deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq. . . . The people of Iraq want to live in peace, and now it's time for their government to act. . . . Baghdad must be secure. And our plan will help the Iraqi government take back its capital and make good on its commitments. . . .
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