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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 17:16 GMT
State of the Union: Readers' views
US President George W Bush has delivered his seventh State of the Union address, urging America to give his new Iraq strategy "a chance to work" and focusing on domestic issues.

We asked eight readers in the US to give us their reaction to the speech.

NATHAN BHAT, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, REPUBLICAN

Nathan Bhat
I was impressed with the president's speech. It addressed issues of great importance to Americans.

I particularly liked the parts relating to foreign policy. President Bush's call to Congress to support our troops in Iraq was especially important.

I was glad to hear the president talk candidly about our progress in the war on terror.

Many in Congress want an instantaneous resolution to our security problems and anything short of that is classified as Vietnam, which is wrong. Our president is strong in the face of this Democrat-controlled criticism.

On the domestic front, I applaud him for promoting the idea of tax breaks for people who provide their own health insurance. I also liked his call to reduce our federal deficit.

SHAWN HUNT, WASHINGTON DC, DEMOCRAT

Shawn Hunt
With Bush's State of the Union address, he has yet again exposed what I consider his biggest flaw - the unrelenting belief in his own ideology at the expense of reality.

This flaw wasn't evident last night in his empty political-speak about healthcare, the deficit or education, which I think most Americans will agree aren't being seriously addressed by either party.

The flaw was most striking when the topic turned to the big issue - Iraq.

When Bush speaks about Iraq, he has no credibility at all in my opinion. Until he acknowledges the unfortunate new reality he has created in the region, most glaringly the strengthening influence of Iran, he's lost in an ideological fog of "good guys" and "bad guys".

The United States must engage with all players in the region if there's ever going to be a way out. His answer is more troops. This is wrong.

EDWARD WILSON, HAMDEN, CONNECTICUT, INDEPENDENT

Edward Wilson
The speech itself was not particularly memorable.

It included a focus on domestic issues, including an interesting proposal to extend income tax exemptions to help pay for medical insurance, as well as typical comments on education, Medicare, social security, and a plea for support on Iraq.

However, compare this with the infamous "axis of evil" speech of his first term. Where is the swagger, the brazen assumption that the president and his people know what is right for the world?

This time we heard a plea from a president who is concerned about his place in history and an admission that this is no longer the fight we thought we were getting into. He attempted to put all of this in the context of the "war on terror", but these phrases have worn thin.

He was correct in focusing on important domestic issues but the House will now set its own agenda, with its own biases.

And over it all will hang Iraq, which has no easy or quick solution, and will most likely continue to dominate everyone's attention through to the 2008 elections, and possibly beyond.

KANDACE HEIMER, HOUSTON, TEXAS, REPUBLICAN

Kandace Heimer
The president painted a positive, forward looking picture of the US, while emphasising the immensity of the challenges facing our country, particularly with respect to the war in Iraq and the overall war on terror.

He laid out appropriate priorities for the remainder of his term.

On domestic issues, he rightly focused on the continued growth of the economy and emphasised the role of the private sector and entrepreneurship in this growth.

Most disappointing to me was the Democrats' lack of support for the president's initiatives. They simply sat on their hands
Kandace Heimer

He was consistent in calling for spending discipline, tax reduction and a limited role for government in addressing the balanced budget, improvements to education, the expansion of health insurance and lessening dependence on foreign oil.

I also thought it was notable that he ranked the issue of the approval of judicial nominees alongside the other domestic issues.

Most disappointing to me was the Democrats' lack of support for the president's initiatives. They simply sat on their hands at every mention of seeing the Iraq conflict through to victory.

OCTAVIA PHILLIPS, RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, DEMOCRAT

Octavia Phillips
The president started out very respectfully, recognising Nancy Pelosi as the first Madam Speaker.

But he soon reverted to type.

He says the US is too dependent on foreign oil, yet that was the whole reason why we went to war in the first place. It was never about bringing a stable democracy to Iraq.

How can he say that Iraq and America are safer when between June and September of 2006 almost 47,000 Iraqi citizens were killed between sectarian violence and the war? Where is the safety in Iraq?

He asked for compromise with his "new strategy" for Iraq but there was nothing new about it.

Similarly, his new plan for health insurance is simply another attempt to give tax breaks to the wealthy while penalising the working class.

MARJO MILLER, KIHEI, HAWAII, INDEPENDENT

Marjo Miller
Bush is fighting for his political life and an acceptable place in history by shifting his delivery from arrogance to an attempt at reconciliation.

I lost my trust in him after the betrayal over Iraq and I do not buy into his transparent attempts to link terrorism with our presence in Iraq and our national security.

Major issues that were ignored are priorities for many Americans
Marjo Miller
Instead, I would like to have heard him tell us the exact number of people that have been killed or maimed on all sides in Iraq.

Major issues that were ignored are priorities for many Americans. For instance, we need to know the exact dollar amount of our historically high national debt.

The president and members of Congress raise the issue of health insurance for political gain, but while they have their health insurance funded by overburdened taxpayers, many Americans still have no health cover for their families.

Members of Congress must work for the citizens they represent, not the lobbyists or the corporations. They must organise their oversight committees, defend the Constitution, and keep this administration in check.

PAUL MCFALL, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, REPUBLICAN

Paul McFall
President Bush addressed the major issues facing the country, but I was not fully impressed with how he dealt with them.

He spoke about reducing fuel consumption, which I feel is a massive challenge facing Americans. But what I did not hear, which should have been said, is that the American public needs to reduce the size of the cars they buy.

Americans consume far too much fuel. This mindset of the American driver must change. Oil is a limited resource and we must play a pivotal part in conserving it.

On Iraq, I wanted to hear him give more power to the military in shaping the strategy for Iraq. Politicians - everyone from the president to the rank and file congressional representatives - are dictating how the armed forces operate.

Political correctness has no place on the ground when you are being fired on by people who detonate bombs in markets with the expressed purpose of killing women and children.

I agreed with the president when he said these people feed on chaos. We need to eliminate the chaos.

SUZI SAVINO, WESTLAKE, OHIO, DEMOCRAT

Suzi Savino
I agree with everything Senator Jim Webb said in his response to President Bush's speech.

Mr Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq was wrong, as Mr Webb said. He should know, as his son is serving in Iraq.

As he stated, the war was an error to begin with and sending more of our troops there was an even bigger mistake.

Mr Webb rightly stated that the president has mismanaged the war and is leaving the United States vulnerable to attack.

He also said that wages are down and medical costs have "skyrocketed". Despite what the president may have promised in his speech, this is also the reality for many Americans.






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