With 51 weeks remaining in his second term of office, President Bill Clinton today delivered his eighth and final State of the Union Address. In it he attacked the Republican-controlled Congress: “For too long this Congress has been standing still on some of our most pressing national priorities.”
Speaking to the joint houses of Congress, the President proposed a $350 billion tax cut and increased spending on schools and health care. He also argued for photo ID licenses for handgun purchases.
There were a number of references to Vice-President Al Gore in the speech as Clinton attempted to promote his prospects in this year’s presidential election. Clinton also emphasised the healthy condition of the American economy:
“We begin the new century with over 20 million new jobs. The fastest economic growth in more than 30 years. The lowest unemployment rates in 30 years. The lowest poverty rates in 20 years. The lowest African-American and Hispanic unemployment rates on record. The first back-to-back surpluses in 42 years.”
The speech was a clear justification and defence of the 7 years of Clinton’s administration and an attempt to avoid the “lame duck” tag often experienced by second-term presidents in their final year.