(Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush laid out goals for his final year in office in his last State of the Union speech on Monday. He urged Congress to quickly pass an economic stimulus package and touted security gains in Iraq.
Here is reaction from some of the presidential candidates hoping to succeed Bush in the White House.
President Bush had one final chance tonight to acknowledge what the American people have known for years: that the economy is not working for middle-class families. Unfortunately, what he offered was more of the same, a frustrating commitment to the same failed policies that helped turn record surpluses into large deficits, and push a thriving 21st century economy to the brink of recession.
The president tonight renewed his call for an economic recovery plan. But the plan he and Congress have offered leaves out tens of millions of Americans who need help the most. This plan would take months to have any impact, and the people I meet every day on the campaign trail do not have months to wait. These people are hurting now and need this help now.
It was warmed over past State of the Union speeches. As I travel across the country, the American people want much, much more. They are anxious about their economic futures. They’re seeing their homes foreclosed. They’re seeing jobs contracting. They are concerned about being able to send their kids to college. What they want is leadership from the White House.
I applaud the president’s efforts on behalf of an economic stimulus package it’s a valuable first step. And I hope that the Democratic leadership in Congress will cooperate with the president in a responsible manner.
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.
I saw a president who recognizes that Washington has been unable to deal with many of the problems we face. And whether that’s the ongoing threat from al Qaeda or whether it’s the need to reform Social Security or the need to finally secure our borders and have an immigration policy that works, this was a president saying: You know what? Washington ought to get the job done. Washington is broken.
Compiled by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Chris Wilson