President George W. Bush delivered his first State of the Union address to Congress, the Sentate, and honored guests Tuesday at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.
In the address he pledged to wage a strong battle against terrorism and to revive the nation's economy. Bush said that while the nation was in a time of crisis, the patriotism was going strong.
"Our nation is at war, and the economy is in recession. The civilized world faces unprecedented dangers," Bush said. "Yet the state of our union has never been stronger."
Following the nation's accomplishments since the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush included a global coalition against terrorism, the fall of the Taliban, the creation of a post-war government in Afghanistan and the capture of Afghan terrorists. Bush said the nation would persist in the termination of terrorist camps, and prevention of terrorist threats around the world.
"So long as training camps operate, so long as nations harbor terrorists, freedom is at risk and American and our allies must not, and will not, allow it," Bush said.
He also introduced plans for his budget, which included nearly doubled funding for homeland security strategy, focused on areas such as bioterrorism, airport and border security, vaccines for anthrax, and more funding for the training of state fire and police departments.
The President supported extending unemployment benefits and direct assistance for health care coverage, better Medicare for senior citizens and more job provisions. He also said that a crucial part of improving the economy was increasing education, urging the improvement of Head Start and early childhood development programs. He also supports teacher in-service studies and training upgrades.
Bush urged the union of Republicans and Democrats in the struggle for a better nation.
"As we act to win the war, protect our people and create jobs in American," he said in his address, "we must act first and foremost, not as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Americans."
Joseph Losco, chairperson of the Department of Political Science at Ball State, said Bush's address was admirable in the aspect of homeland security, but in the area of domestic issues he was not as strong. He said the policies were not well defined.
"He was forceful, clear and informative," Losco said in reference to Bush's address on the war on terrorism. "But in the parts dealing with domestics I thought it fell flat.
"I think he fell back to pre-Sept. 11 campaign rhetoric when talking about the economy, and there were no real new ideas to try to bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats."
Losco said Bush needed to reach across the aisles and compromise with the Democrats, and that the American citizens would support him in times of crisis, but will turn against him if the economy did not turn around.
Losco also said the specifics of the budget will spark major debate concerning what areas will be allocated the most money.
"We should expect continued agreement on the war on terrorism," Losco said. "But we should (also) expect continued disagreement on domestic policy."