State of the Union Reactions

By: AP
By: AP

Reactions to President Bush's final State of the Union address Monday:
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"We agree with the president that we must work together to make progress on our most pressing challenges. Yet, tonight, the president offered little more than the status quo. At a time when our economy is on shaky ground and our leadership around the world is eroding, the status quo won't do." — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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"Tonight the president called on Congress to act quickly on a number of key priorities, and Republicans stand ready to work together with the majority when it's in the best interest of the country. In fact, we can start tomorrow by permanently closing the terrorist loophole in our nation's surveillance laws and passing an economic growth plan without tax hikes and unrelated spending increases." — House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

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"I applaud the president's efforts to reduce earmarks and their influence on federal government spending. Earmarks and pork-barrel spending steal valuable taxpayer dollars from national priorities, skew the budget process, and have led to corruption among lawmakers." — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

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"Tonight was President Bush's last State of the Union, and I do not believe history will judge his administration kindly. But I also believe the failures of the last seven years stem not just from any single policy, but from a broken politics in Washington." — Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

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"Tonight President Bush claimed that the state of our union is strong. And we can all debate that. But what is not up for debate is that for too many American families, the true 'state of their lives' is one of economic anxiety and uncertainty." — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.

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"And in the chamber of the House of Representatives where the president speaks, even though this Congress stopped listening to him a while ago, they will still applaud and cheer him. ... Between now and January of 2009, Democrats must stand up to this president, stand up for what's right, so he does not continue to forget about the middle class in this country." — Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.

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"President Bush today said that earmarks have tripled in number over the last decade, but he forgot to tell the public that he signed those earmarks into law. President Bush also neglected to mention that the tripling in earmarks occurred under a Republican Congress." — Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.

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"I think the president still has the potential to do a lot. He is still the president of the United States, and with the Democrats in Congress coming forward and being cooperative on this stimulus package, I'm hopeful that that will signal a little different attitude on the part of Congress." — Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

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"I hope that this year both the White House and the Congress put partisan considerations aside and produce real results for the American people. ... Particularly at a time of war, the national interest must come before partisan interests." — Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.

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"The simple fact is that the state of the union has deteriorated on President Bush's watch. This deterioration is perhaps most clearly seen in our nation's fiscal condition. ... Despite this failed record, President Bush continues to push for more of the same, including the permanent extension of deficit-financed tax cuts that disproportionately favor the wealthiest." — Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.

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"I do not support abdicating Congress' constitutionally mandated power of the purse. While it is true that some of my colleagues have abused the power to direct federal spending, many more have used it for good. It is essential that funding decisions be determined by people who are elected to represent their states, not by unelected Washington bureaucrats." — Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.

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"The president's state of the union was more of the same. But we need change. We need a change in our economic policy. We need a change in our trade policy. We need a change that puts middle-class families first." — Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

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"President Bush is responding to the anxieties of Americans and addressing them head-on with his actions and his words." — Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

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"After seven years of failed policies and promises, our country now faces a slowing economy, a misguided war and diminished status in the world. The time for a change is now." — Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

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"President Bush spoke tonight of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for our nation. While he certainly focused on the economy ... he highlighted trade policies as they take on a growing importance in the global marketplace. If we are to remain a world leader, we must continue to examine the way we do business at home and abroad." — Rep. Jim McCrery, R-La.

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"In just a few weeks, we will mark the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq. Five years later, the political and economic situation on the ground has changed little, while the rest of the world, including the United States, has changed significantly. The president continues to ignore the bigger picture in Iraq." — Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa.

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"I, along with most Americans, see the state of the union every morning when I leave my house. I see it in the form of men and women lined up around the corner of the unemployment office. The state of our union is evident in the number of for-sale signs that we pass before we even hit the first stop sign on our way to our jobs. It is evident in the houses long-ago foreclosed, still sitting vacant with boarded-up windows. The state of our union is dire." — Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.

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"After hearing the president's speech Monday night, Americans must be more convinced than ever that it's time for change. ... Tonight, we didn't hear a plan for the issues that matter most to Americans. We didn't hear a real plan for tackling health care or education, our economy or the housing crisis, or even the war in Iraq." — Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

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"The president was right to commit to improving the economy and creating jobs, preventing terrorist attacks, and controlling wasteful Washington spending." — Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

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"The president, in his final State of the Union address, outlined an agenda that addresses some of our nation's most pressing challenges. Most immediate is the need for legislation to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)." — Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

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"I'm pleased with the first steps we've made this year to reach agreement with the president on an economic stimulus package. ... Unfortunately, the president has been reluctant to work hand in hand with Democrats on other important issues affecting our nation such as national security." — House Democratic Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C.

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"What I was hoping is that the president would build on his success in working with us so quickly on the stimulus package and move forward from there. ... What was surprising is to have him throw out a bunch of veto threats." Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.


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