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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 January, 2004, 12:36 GMT
Key points: State of the Union address
US President George W Bush made a robust defence of his administration's record in his third State of the Union address since becoming US president. Here are some of the key excerpts:

War on terror

We are tracking al-Qaeda around the world, and nearly two-thirds of their known leaders have now been captured or killed. Thousands of military personnel are on a manhunt and, one-by-one, we will bring the terrorists to justice.


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.

Weapons of mass destruction

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

Middle East democracy

As long as the Middle East remains a place of tyranny, 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.


In these 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.

Tax cuts

The tax reductions [Congress] passed are set to expire. 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.


I propose a new temporary worker programme to match willing foreign workers with willing employers, when no Americans can be found to fill the job.

Health care

Our goal is to ensure that Americans can choose and afford private health care coverage that best fits their individual needs.

Drugs in sport

The use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in baseball, football, and other sports is dangerous, and it sends the wrong message. I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches, and players to get rid of steroids now.

Gay marriage

Activist judges have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process.

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