President Bush’s 2006 State of the Union Address

President Bush has delivered the annual State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress in Washington DC. Less ambitious in scope than in previous years, reflecting his loss of political capital, Bush stuck fast to his foreign policy goals and proposed limited domestic policies.

The speech began with a tribute to Coretta Scott King, widow of the slain Martin Luther King. Mrs. King died today.

In the speech, Bush reiterated his commitment to US intervention in Iraq. He called for the Congress to renew the Patriot Act. Domestically, Bush called for the Congress to make permanent tax cuts and set out a plan to cut the US oil imports from the Middle East by 75% by 2025. He proposed a range of research initiatives into alternative fuel sources, such as ethanol.

Democrats rose to their feet and jeered as Bush noted the successful attempts to stymie his social security reforms proposed in last year’s speech.

Bush concluded his speech with a rhetorical flourish: “Yet the destination of history is determined by human action, and every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing. Lincoln could have accepted peace at the cost of disunity and continued slavery. Martin Luther King could have stopped at Birmingham or at Selma, and achieved only half a victory over segregation. The United States could have accepted the permanent division of Europe, and been complicit in the oppression of others. Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back, or finish well?

“Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage. Like Americans before us, we will show that courage and we will finish well. We will lead freedom’s advance. We will compete and excel in the global economy. We will renew the defining moral commitments of this land. And so we move forward – optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, and confident of the victories to come.”

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This is the prepared text of the State of the Union Address delivered by President George W. Bush.

President George W. BushToday our nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream. Tonight we are comforted by the hope of a glad reunion with the husband who was taken from her so long ago, and we are grateful for the good life of Coretta Scott King.

Each time I am invited to this rostrum, I am humbled by the privilege, and mindful of the history we have seen together. We have gathered under this Capitol dome in moments of national mourning and national achievement. We have served America through one of the most consequential periods of our history – and it has been my honor to serve with you. In a system of two parties, two chambers, and two elected branches, there will always be differences and debate. But even tough debates can be conducted in a civil tone, and our differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger. To confront the great issues before us, we must act in a spirit of good will and respect for one another – and I will do my part. Tonight the state of our Union is strong – and together we will make it stronger.

In this decisive year, you and I will make choices that determine both the future and the character of our country. We will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom – or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life. We will choose to build our prosperity by leading the world economy – or shut ourselves off from trade and opportunity. In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting – yet it ends in danger and decline. The only way to protect our people ….. the only way to secure the peace ….. the only way to control our destiny is by our leadership – so the United States of America will continue to lead. [Read more…]