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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 09:26 GMT
US media react to Bush speech
President Bush standing in front of Vice-President Cheney and Nancy Pelosi
Mr Bush is in his final full year in office
US President George W Bush has used his final State of the Union speech to call for confidence in the economy and commitment to his Iraq strategy.

Amid fears of an economic slowdown, Mr Bush urged Congress to support measures designed to help American families.

He called on Iran's leaders to cease their "support for terror abroad" and pointed out what he said was a successful policy in tackling violence in Iraq.

Here is a round-up of US media reaction to the speech:

LOS ANGELES TIMES

President Bush's State of the Union address on Monday was a reflection of the state of his presidency at the beginning of its final year: a short-term scramble for a long-term legacy.

A president who entered office in 2001 with promises to reform social security, immigration and education policy now sees time running out on most of those goals.

A president who prided himself on a long stretch of economic growth - fuelled, he said, by his tax cuts - is now grappling with a sudden downturn that could cancel the earlier gains.

The most upbeat, soaring section of Bush's speech, ironically, was his description of progress in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq - accomplishments whose durability remain in question, and for which few Americans seem to grant the president much credit.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

A lame duck skirting the edges of relevance in his last year in office, Bush angled to get the country's attention via the pocketbook. He called for quick passage of a bipartisan economic stimulus package to address a credit crunch that has aroused deep anxiety on Wall Street and Main Street.

The speech was a notable departure in how little he propose - no new programs like space travel to Mars or calls for great sacrifice - as though he was tacitly conceding that the hourglass of his presidency was emptying rapidly...

The president last came before Congress to promote a war that was going poorly and an economy that was going well. The war overwhelmed the room. This time, he came to talk about progress in the war with an economy teetering on recession, and the concerns about the economy drowned out the news about the war.

WASHINGTON POST

Turning the corner into his last year in office with the nation already voting on who might succeed him, Bush is recalibrating what remains possible in a Congress controlled by the opposition and rethinking the most effective way to get what he wants on the international front.

While aides insist he is not dwelling on his legacy, the "unfinished business" agenda he outlined seemed geared toward consolidating past achievements and focusing strategically on where he can win a few more.

NEW YORK TIMES

This address lacked the soaring ambitions of Mr Bush's previous speeches, though it had its rhetorical flourishes.

He invoked the "miracle of America" but for the most part flatly recited familiar ideas - cutting taxes, fighting terrorists, the war in Iraq - rather than bold new ones. Nothing he proposed Monday is likely to redefine how history judges his presidency.

BOSTON GLOBE

Americans last night saw both the George W Bush they have come to know over seven years as president and a glimpse of another Bush that might have been - a moderate leader talking of compromise on measures to enhance energy conservation, fight climate change, and restore economic security...

Bush is eager to spend his last year in office as the kind of president he wanted to be before 9/11 - before the world changed and his neoconservative advisers began stressing the need for preventative military action in Iraq.

Last night, it was possible to envision what that presidency might have looked like - and to hope that it's not too late to make good on some of its promises.

MIAMI HERALD

President Bush on Monday used his final State of the Union address to launch what the White House called ''a sprint to the finish,'' but his modest agenda made clear that his dismal political standing and a wary Democratic Congress prohibit grand ambitions for his final year in office...

On balance, this was a gentler, more accommodating president, one signalling that he was still wounded from the bruising fights he endured last year with the Democratic Congress.

SEATTLE TIMES

He spoke of trust in people - taxpayers, homeowners, medical researchers, doctors and patients, students, workers, energy entrepreneurs and others - to drive their own success and that of the country. The unspoken message: Government isn't the answer.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

Mr Bush approached the address as an opportunity to begin rehabilitating his legacy as he faces his final year in office. For much of his second term, his approval ratings have been low, due largely to the Iraq conflict. Many Americans lately have begun to look beyond his tenure...

In last night's address, the president struck an optimistic and mostly non-confrontational tone, unlike some past speeches that have dwelled on the threat of Islamist terrorism, or partisan ideological divides.

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Facing a worst-of-all-worlds combination of war and a possible recession, Bush did not embrace any of the high-risk policy gambles, such as Iraq, immigration, Social Security and other ventures, that have defined his presidency.

He instead sketched a narrow path of small-scale skirmishes with Congress on spending, deadlock with Democrats on Iraq policy and fervent hope that his signature tax cuts do not vanish with his presidency.





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