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1 14th April 11:31
andrew langer
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Default OT: Complete Text of State of the Union (diabetes grief heart)


Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished guests
and fellow citizens: America, this evening, is a nation called to great
responsibilities. And we are rising to meet them.

As we gather tonight, hundreds of thousands of American service men and women
are deployed across the world in the war on terror. By bringing hope to the
oppressed and delivering justice to the violent, they are making America more
secure.

Each day, law enforcement personnel and intelligence officers are tracking
terrorist threats; ****ysts are examining airline passenger lists; the men and
women of our new Homeland Security Department are patrolling our coasts and
borders. And their vigilance is protecting America.

Americans are proving once again to be the hardest-working people in the world.
The American economy is growing stronger. The tax relief you passed is working.

Tonight, members of Congress can take pride in the great works of compassion and
reform that skeptics had thought impossible.

You're raising the standards for our public schools, and you're giving our
senior citizens prescription drug coverage under Medicare.

We have faced serious challenges together, and now we face a choice: We can go
forward with confidence and resolve, or we can turn back to the dangerous
illusion that terrorists are not plotting and outlaw regimes are no threat to
us. We can press on with economic growth and reforms in education and Medicare,
or we can turn back to old policies and old divisions.

We've not come all this way, through tragedy and trial and war, only to falter
and leave our work unfinished. Americans are rising to the tasks of history, and
they expect the same from us. In their efforts, their enterprise and their
character, the American people are showing that the state of our union is
confident and strong.

Our greatest responsibility is the active defense of the American people.
Twenty-eight months have passed since September 11, 2001 -- over two years
without an attack on American soil -- and it is tempting to believe that the
danger is behind us.

That hope is understandable, comforting -- and false. The killing has continued
in Bali, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Mombassa, Jerusalem, Istanbul and Baghdad.
The terrorists continue to plot against America and the civilized world. And by
our will and courage, this danger will be defeated.

Inside the United States, where the war began, we must continue to give homeland
security and law enforcement personnel every tool they need to defend us.

And one of those essential tools is the Patriot Act, which allows federal law
enforcement to better share information, to track terrorists, to disrupt their
cells and to seize their assets. For years, we have used similar provisions to
catch embezzlers and drug traffickers. If these methods are good for hunting
criminals, they are even more important for hunting terrorists.

Key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire next year.

The terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule.

Our law enforcement needs this vital legislation to protect our citizens. You
need to renew the Patriot Act.

America is on the offensive against the terrorists who started this war. Last
March, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, a mastermind of September the 11th, awoke to find
himself in the custody of U.S. and Pakistani authorities. Last August the 11th
brought the capture of the terrorist Hambali, who was a key player in the attack
in Indonesia that killed over 200 people.

We're tracking Al Qaeda around the world, and nearly two- thirds of their known
leaders have now been captured or killed.

Thousands of very skilled and determined military personnel are on a manhunt,
going after the remaining killers who hide in cities and caves. And one by one,
we will bring these terrorists to justice.

As part of the offensive against terror, we are also confronting the regimes
that harbor and support terrorists and could supply them with nuclear, chemical
or biological weapons.


The United States and our allies are determined: We refuse to live in the shadow
of this ultimate danger.

The first to see our determination were the Taliban, who made Afghanistan the
primary training base of al Qaeda killers.

As of this month, that country has a new constitution, guaranteeing free
elections and full participation by women. Businesses are opening, health care
centers are being established, and the boys and girls of Afghanistan are back in
school.

With help from the new Afghan army, our coalition is leading aggressive raids
against the surviving members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The men and women of
Afghanistan are building a nation that is free and proud and fighting terror.
And America is honored to be their friend.

Since we last met in this chamber, combat forces of the United States, Great
Britain, Australia, Poland and other countries enforced the demands of the
United Nations, ended the rule of Saddam Hussein, and the people of Iraq are
free.

Having broken the Baathist regime, we face a remnant of violent Saddam
supporters. Men who ran away from our troops in battle are now dispersed and
attack from the shadows. These killers, joined by foreign terrorists, are a
serious, continuing danger.

Yet we're making progress against them. The once all-powerful ruler of Iraq was
found in a hole and now sits in a prison cell.

Of the top 55 officials of the former regime, we have captured or killed 45.
Our forces are on the offensive, leading over 1,600 patrols a day and conducting
an average of 180 raids a week. We are dealing with these thugs in Iraq just as
surely as we dealt with Saddam Hussein's evil regime.

The work of building a new Iraq is hard and it is right. And America has always
been willing to do what it takes for what is right.

Last January, Iraq's only law was the whim of one brutal man. Today our
coalition is working with the Iraqi Governing Council to draft a basic law, with
a bill of rights.

We are working with Iraqis and the United Nations to prepare for a transition to
full Iraqi sovereignty by the end of June.

As democracy takes hold in Iraq, the enemies of freedom will do all in their
power to spread violence and fear. They are trying to shake the will of our
country and our friends, but the United States of America will never be
intimidated by thugs and assassins.

The killers will fail, and the Iraqi people will live in freedom.

Month by month, Iraqis are assuming more responsibility for their own security
and their own future. And tonight we are honored to welcome one of Iraq's most
respected leaders: the current president of the Iraqi Governing Council, Adnan
Pachachi.

Sir, America stands with you and the Iraqi people as you build a free and
peaceful nation.

Because of American leadership and resolve, the world is changing for the
better.

Last month, the leader of Libya voluntarily pledged to disclose and dismantle
all of his regime's weapons of mass destruction programs, including a
uranium-enrichment project for nuclear weapons. Colonel Gaddafi correctly judged
that his country would be better off and far more secure without weapons of mass
murder.

Nine months of intense negotiations involving the United States and Great
Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did not. And
one reason is clear: For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible. And
no one can now doubt the word of America.

Different threats require different strategies. Along with nations in the
region, we're insisting that North Korea eliminate its nuclear program.
America and the international community are demanding that Iran meet its
commitments and not develop nuclear weapons.

America is committed to keeping the world's most dangerous weapons out of the
hands of the world's most dangerous regimes.

When I came to this rostrum on September 20, 2001, I brought the police shield
of a fallen officer -- my reminder of lives that ended and a task that does not
end.

I gave to you and to all Americans my complete commitment to securing our
country and defeating our enemies. And this pledge, given by one, has been kept
by many.

You in the Congress have provided the resources for our defense and cast the
difficult votes of war and peace. Our closest allies have been unwavering.
America's intelligence personnel and diplomats have been skilled and tireless.
And the men and women of the American military, they have taken the hardest
duty. We've seen their skill and their courage in armored charges and midnight
raids and lonely hours on faithful watch. We have seen the joy when they return
and felt the sorrow when one is lost.

I've had the honor of meeting our service men and women at many posts, from the
deck of a carrier in the Pacific to a mess hall in Baghdad.

Many of our troops are listening tonight. And I want you and your families to
know: America is proud of you. And my administration and this Congress will give
you the resources you need to fight and win the war on terror.

I know that some people question if America is really in a war at all. They view
terrorism more as a crime, a problem to be solved mainly with law enforcement
and indictments.

After the World Trade Center was first attacked in 1993, some of the guilty were
indicted and tried and convicted and sent to prison. But the matter was not
settled. The terrorists were still training and plotting in other nations and
drawing up more ambitious plans.

After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our
enemies with legal papers. The terrorists and their supporters declared war on
the United States. And war is what they got.

Some in this chamber and in our country did not support the liberation of Iraq.
Objections to war often come from principled motives. But let us be candid about
the consequences of leaving Saddam Hussein in power.

We're seeking all the facts. Already, the Kay report identified dozens of
weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts
of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations.

Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would
continue to this day.

Had we failed to act, Security Council resolutions on Iraq would have been
revealed as empty threats, weakening the United Nations and encouraging defiance
by dictators around the world.

Iraq's torture chambers would still be filled with victims -- terrified and
innocent.

The killing fields of Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of men and women and
children vanished into the sands, would still be known only to the killers.
For all who love freedom and peace, the world without Saddam Hussein's regime is
a better and safer place.

Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This
particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia,
Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark,
Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands. . . .

. . Norway, El Salvador and the 17 other countries that have committed troops
to Iraq.

As we debate at home, we must never ignore the vital contributions of our
international partners or dismiss their sacrifices. From the beginning, America
has sought international support for our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and
we have gained much support.

There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations and
submitting to the objections of a few. America will never seek a permission slip
to defend the security of our country.

We also hear doubts that democracy is a realistic goal for the greater Middle
East, where freedom is rare. Yet it is mistaken and condescending to assume that
whole cultures and great religions are incompatible with liberty and
self-government.

I believe that God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in
freedom. And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will
rise again.

As long as the Middle East remains a place of tyranny and despair and anger, it
will continue to produce men and movements that threaten the safety of America
and our friends.

So America is pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the greater Middle East.
We will challenge the enemies of reform, confront the allies of terror and
expect a higher standard from our friend.

To cut through the barriers of hateful propaganda, the Voice of America and
other broadcast services are expanding their programming in Arabic and Persian.
And soon, a new television service will begin providing reliable news and
information across the region.

I will send you a proposal to double the budget of the National Endowment for
Democracy and to focus its new work on the development of free elections and
free markets, free press and free labor unions in the Middle East.

And above all, we will finish the historic work of democracy in Afghanistan and
Iraq, so those nations can light the way for others and help transform a
troubled part of the world.

America is a nation with a mission, and that mission comes from our most basic
beliefs. We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire. Our aim is a
democratic peace, a peace founded upon the dignity and rights of every man and
woman.

America acts in this cause with friends and allies at our side, yet we
understand our special calling: This great republic will lead the cause of
freedom.

In the last three years, adversity has also revealed the fundamental strengths
of the American economy. We have come through recession and terrorist attack and
corporate scandals and the uncertainties of war.

And because you acted to stimulate our economy with tax relief, this economy is
strong and growing stronger.

You have doubled the child tax credit from $500 to $1,000, reduced the marriage
penalty, begun to phase out the death tax, reduced taxes on capital gains and
stock dividends, cut taxes on small businesses, and you have lowered taxes for
every American who pays income taxes.

Americans took those dollars and put them to work, driving this economy forward.
The pace of economic growth in the third quarter of 2003 was the fastest in
nearly 20 years: new home construction, the highest in almost 20 years;
homeownership rates, the highest ever. Manufacturing activity is increasing,
inflation is low, interest rates are low, exports are growing, productivity is
high, and jobs are on the rise.

These numbers confirm that the American people are using their money far better
than government would have, and you were right to return it.

America's growing economy is also a changing economy. As technology transforms
the way almost every job is done, America becomes more productive and workers
need new skills. Much of our job growth will be found in high-skilled fields
like health care and biotechnology. So we must respond by helping more Americans
gain the skills to find good jobs in our new economy.

All skills begin with the basics of reading and math, which are supposed to be
learned in the early grades of our schools. Yet for too long, for too many
children, those skills were never mastered.

By passing the No Child Left Behind Act, you have made the expectation of
literacy the law of our country.

We're providing more funding for our schools -- a 36 percent increase since
2001. We are requiring higher standards. We are regularly testing every child on
the fundamentals. We are reporting results to parents and making sure they have
better options when schools are not performing. We are making progress toward
excellence for every child in America.

But the status quo always has defenders. Some want to undermine the No Child
Left Behind Act by weakening standards and accountability. Yet the results we
require are really a matter of common sense: We expect third-graders to read and
do math at the third-grade level. That's not asking too much.
Testing is the only way to identify and help students who are falling behind.
This nation will not go back to the days of simply shuffling children along from
grade to grade without them learning the basics.

I refuse to give up on any child. And the No Child Left Behind Act is opening
the door of opportunity to all of America's children.

At the same time, we must ensure that older students and adults can gain the
skills they need to find work now. Many of the fastest- growing occupations
require strong math and science preparation and training beyond the high-school
level.

So tonight I propose a series of measures called Jobs for the 21st Century. This
program will provide extra help to middle- and high-school students who fall
behind in reading and math, expand Advanced Placement programs in low-income
schools, invite math and science professionals from the private sector to teach
part-time in our high schools.

I propose larger Pell Grants for students who prepare for college with demanding
courses in high school.

I propose increasing our support for America's fine community colleges, so they
can. . . .

I do so so they can train workers for industries that are creating the most new
jobs.
By all these actions, we will help more and more Americans to join in the
growing prosperity of our country.
Job training is important, and so is job creation. We must continue to pursue an
aggressive, pro-growth economic agenda.

Congress has some unfinished business on the issue of taxes. The tax reductions
you passed are set to expire. Unless you act. . . .

Unless you act, the unfair tax on marriage will go back up. Unless you act,
millions of families will be charged $300 more in federal taxes for every child.
Unless you act, small businesses will pay higher taxes. Unless you act, the
death tax will eventually come back to life.
Unless you act, Americans face a tax increase. What the Congress has given, the
Congress should not take away. For the sake of job growth, the tax cuts you
passed should be permanent.

Our agenda for jobs and growth must help small-business owners and employees
with relief from needless federal regulation and protect them from junk and
frivolous lawsuits.

Consumers and businesses need reliable supplies of energy to make our economy
run. So I urge you to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system,
promote conservation and make America less dependent on foreign sources of
energy.

My administration is promoting free and fair trade, to open up new markets for
America's entrepreneurs and manufacturers and farmers, to create jobs for
American workers.
Younger workers should have the opportunity to build a nest egg by saving part
of their Social Security taxes in a personal retirement account.

We should make the Social Security system a source of ownership for the American
people.

And we should limit the burden of government on this economy by acting as good
stewards of taxpayers' dollars.

In two weeks, I will send you a budget that funds the war, protects the homeland
and meets important domestic needs, while limiting the growth in discretionary
spending to less than 4 percent.

This will require that Congress focus on priorities, cut wasteful spending and
be wise with the people's money. By doing so, we can cut the deficit in half
over the next five years.

Tonight I also ask you to reform our immigration laws so they reflect our values
and benefit our economy.
I propose a new temporary-worker program to match willing foreign workers with
willing employers when no Americans can be found to fill the job. This reform
will be good for our economy, because employers will find needed workers in an
honest and orderly system. A temporary-worker program will help protect our
homeland, allowing border patrol and law enforcement to focus on true threats to
our national security.
I oppose amnesty, because it would encourage further illegal immigration and
unfairly reward those who break our laws.
My temporary-worker program will preserve the citizenship path for those who
respect the law, while bringing millions of hardworking men and women out from
the shadows of American life.

Our nation's health care system, like our economy, is also in a time of change.
Amazing medical technologies are improving and saving lives. This dramatic
progress has brought its own challenge, in the rising costs of medical care and
health insurance.
Members of Congress, we must work together to help control those costs and
extend the benefits of modern medicine throughout our country.

Meeting these goals requires bipartisan effort. And two months ago, you showed
the way. By strengthening Medicare and adding a prescription drug benefit, you
kept a basic commitment to our seniors: You are giving them the modern medicine
they deserve.

Starting this year, under the law you passed, seniors can choose to receive a
drug discount card, saving them 10 to 25 percent off the retail price of most
prescription drugs, and millions of low- income seniors can get an additional
$600 to buy medicine.
Beginning next year, seniors will have new coverage for preventive screenings
against diabetes and heart disease, and seniors just entering Medicare can
receive wellness exams.
In January of 2006, seniors can get prescription drug coverage under Medicare.
For a monthly premium of about $35, most seniors who do not have that coverage
today can expect to see their drug bills cut roughly in half.
Under this reform, senior citizens will be able to keep their Medicare just as
it is, or they can choose a Medicare plan that fits them best -- just as you, as
members of Congress, can choose an insurance plan that meets your needs.
And starting this year, millions of Americans will be able to save money,
tax-free, for their medical expenses in a health savings account.

I signed this measure proudly, and any attempts to limit the choices of our
seniors or to take away their prescription drug coverage under Medicare will
meet my veto.

On the critical issue of health care, our goal is to ensure that Americans can
choose and afford private health care coverage that best fits their individual
needs.
To make insurance more affordable, Congress must act to address rapidly rising
health care costs. Small businesses should be able to band together and
negotiate for lower insurance rates so they can cover more workers with health
insurance.
I urge you to pass Association Health Plans.

I ask you to give lower-income Americans a refundable tax credit that would
allow millions to buy their own basic health insurance.

By computerizing health records, we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce
costs and improve care.
To protect the doctor-patient relationship and keep good doctors doing good
work, we must eliminate wasteful and frivolous medical lawsuits.

And tonight I propose that individuals who buy catastrophic health care
coverage, as part of our new health savings accounts, be allowed to deduct 100
percent of the premiums from their taxes.

A government-run health care system is the wrong prescription.

By keeping costs under control, expanding access and helping more Americans
afford coverage, we will preserve the system of private medicine that makes
America's health care the best in the world.

We are living in a time of great change -- in our world, in our economy, in
science and medicine. Yet some things endure: courage and compassion, reverence
and integrity, respect for differences of faith and race.
The values we try to live by never change. And they are instilled in us by
fundamental institutions such as families and schools and religious
congregations. These institutions, these unseen pillars of civilization, must
remain strong in America, and we will defend them.
We must stand with our families to help them raise healthy, responsible
children. And when it comes to helping children make right choices, there is
work for all of us to do.
One of the worst decisions our children can make is to gamble their lives and
futures on drugs. Our government is helping parents confront this problem with
aggressive education, treatment and law enforcement.
Drug use in high school has declined by 11 percent over the past two years. Four
hundred thousand fewer young people are using illegal drugs than in the year
2001.

In my budget, I have proposed new funding to continue our aggressive,
community-based strategy to reduce demand for illegal drugs. Drug-testing in our
schools has proven to be an effective part of this effort. So tonight I propose
an additional $23 million for schools that want to use drug-testing as a tool to
save children's lives.
The aim here is not to punish children, but to send them this message: We love
you, and we do not want to lose you.

To help children make right choices, they need good examples. Athletics play
such an important role in our society, but unfortunately, some in professional
sports are not setting much of an example.
The use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in baseball, football and
other sports is dangerous and it sends the wrong message: that there are
shortcuts to accomplishment and that performance is more important than
character.
So tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches and players to
take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough and to get rid of steroids
now.

To encourage right choices, we must be willing to confront the dangers young
people face, even when they are difficult to talk about.
Each year, about 3 million ****agers contract ***ually transmitted diseases that
can harm them or kill them or prevent them from ever becoming parents.
In my budget, I propose a grassroots campaign to help inform families about
these medical risks. We will double federal funding for abstinence programs so
schools can teach this fact of life: Abstinence for young people is the only
certain way to avoid ***ually transmitted diseases.

Decisions children now make can affect their health and character for the rest
of their lives. All of us -- parents and schools and government -- must work
together to counter the negative influence of the culture and to send the right
messages to our children.
A strong America must also value the institution of marriage. I believe we
should respect individuals as we take a principled stand for one of the most
fundamental, enduring institutions of our civilization.
Congress has already taken a stand on this issue by passing the Defense of
Marriage Act, signed in 1996 by President Clinton. That statute protects
marriage under federal law as the union of a man and a woman, and declares that
one state may not redefine marriage for other states.
Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without
regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives. On an issue
of such great consequence, the people's voice must be heard. If judges insist on
forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the
people would be the constitutional process. Our nation must defend the sanctity
of marriage.

The outcome of this debate is important, and so is the way we conduct it. The
same moral tradition that defines marriage also teaches that each individual has
dignity and value in God's sight.

It's also important to strengthen our communities by unleashing the compassion
of America's religious institutions. Religious charities of every creed are
doing some of the most vital work in our country: mentoring children, feeding
the hungry, taking the hand of the lonely.
Yet government has often denied social-service grants and contracts to these
groups just because they have a cross or a Star of David or a crescent on the
wall.
By executive order, I have opened billions of dollars in grant money to
competition that includes faith-based charities. Tonight I ask you to codify
this into law so people of faith can know that the law will never discriminate
against them again.

In the past, we've worked together to bring mentors to the children of prisoners
and provide treatment for the addicted and help for the homeless. Tonight I ask
you to consider another group of Americans in need of help.
This year, some 600,000 inmates will be released from prison back into society.
We know from long experience that if they can't find work or a home or help,
they are much more likely to commit crime and return to prison.
So tonight, I propose a four-year, $300 million Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative to
expand job training and placement services, to provide transitional housing and
to help newly released prisoners get mentoring, including from faith-based
groups.

America is the land of second chance, and when the gates of the prison open, the
path ahead should lead to a better life.

For all Americans, the last three years have brought tests we did not ask for
and achievements shared by all. By our actions, we have shown what kind of
nation we are. In grief, we have found the grace to go on. In challenge, we
rediscovered the courage and daring of a free people. In victory, we have shown
the noble aims and good heart of America. And having come this far, we sense
that we live in a time set apart.
I've been a witness to the character of the people of America, who have shown
calm in times of danger, compassion for one another and toughness for the long
haul. All of us have been partners in a great enterprise. And even some of the
youngest understand that we are living in historic times.
Last month a girl in Lincoln, Rhode Island, sent me a letter. It began, "Dear
George W. Bush, if there is anything you know I, Ashley Pearson, age 2" -- "age
10, can do to help anyone, please send me a letter and tell me what I can do to
save our country."
She added this P.S.: "If you can send a letter to the troops, please put,
'Ashley Pearson believes in you.'"

Tonight, Ashley, your message to our troops has just been conveyed. And yes, you
have some duties yourself: Study hard in school. Listen to your mom and dad.
Help someone in need. And when you and your friends see a man or woman in
uniform, say, "Thank you."

And, Ashley, while you do your part, all of us here in this great chamber will
do our best to keep you and the rest of America safe and free.

My fellow citizens, we now move forward with confidence and faith. Our nation is
strong and steadfast. The cause we serve is right, because it is the cause of
all mankind.

The momentum of freedom in our world is unmistakable. And it is not carried
forward by our power alone. We can trust in that greater power who guides the
unfolding of the years. And in all that is to come, we can know that His
purposes are just and true.

May God continue to bless America.


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