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Quotes from members of Congress and others

Reaction to President Bush's State of the Union address follows:

Sen. James Webb, D-Va., on Bush's plan for Iraq: "Basically, they don't have a plan. They do not have an overarching strategy as to how we can bring this situation to a resolution. If you cannot clearly articulate the endpoint of a strategy you don't have one."

Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee: "If Iraq descends into chaos, we risk wider regional conflict and the prospect of handing over to America's terrorist enemies a safe haven which they will use as a base to plan and launch attacks against our homeland. That is a risk we simply cannot afford."

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio: "This is a time for America to unite behind this plan, to help make it win."

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.: "The real test of leadership is not what the president said to Congress tonight, but how he works with Congress to find real solutions to the problems we face."

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo.: "Our nation cannot and will not be able to move forward on a meaningful domestic agenda as long as the war in Iraq continues to escalate. I wish I could say Iraq was not all-consuming—but it absolutely is."

House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo.: "A decision to commit more troops and equipment to Iraq has serious consequences that may reduce America's ability to respond to other contingencies that threaten our national security. ... Because I am convinced a 20,000-troop increase is too little, far too late to make a difference in Iraq's security, this is a trade-off I cannot support."

Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla.: "The president has laid out a targeted, ambitious, and positive agenda—one that will benefit America. I am especially encouraged by the direction he's taking in the area of health insurance."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Bush's health-insurance proposals: "Punish people because they have good insurance? I don't think they would agree with that. Taxing people who have health insurance doesn't make sense to me."

Ron Pollack, the executive director of Families USA, on the president's health care tax proposal: "The president's health proposal offers such small relief for uninsured, moderate-income, working families that health coverage will remain unaffordable. It's like throwing a ten-foot rope to someone in a 40-foot hole."

R. Bruce Josten, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president: "We are encouraged that the White House is attempting to present market-based solutions to the critical problems of the uninsured and the skyrocketing costs of health insurance. We look forward to seeing more details of this plan and will analyze it carefully."

Rep. George Radanovich, R-Calif.: "He's facing a legislative body that's changed as a result of his policies, in large part because of his way of running the worldwide war on terror, especially in Iraq."

Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif.: "Unfortunately, if you evaluate our president's current credibility level, both at home and abroad, it's not good."

House Education Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Calif.: "President Bush is right that we cannot afford to go back to the status quo that existed before the enactment of No Child Left Behind. But the task of renewing the law will be made much more difficult if the president's budget fails to provide a substantial increase in funding for schools to carry out their responsibilities under the law."

Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C.: "While Congress must work together in a bipartisan way to get things done for the American people, there can be no `middle ground' in our nation's commitment to enforcing our immigration laws. With illegal immigration's ever-growing burden on our schools, hospitals and federal prisons, we cannot afford to send mixed messages about the cost of illegal immigration to our government."

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., on immigration: "If there is one thing this president seems intent on demonstrating to the American public again and again, it is that he is utterly tone deaf. The president and his new Democratic allies in Congress seem hell-bent on cramming this mass amnesty down the throats of the American people, whether they want it or not."

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee: "I appreciate the president's visit tonight, but he really should have done more to reach out to Democrats before his speech to see if we can come together, rather than simply exchange policies and press releases."

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.: "It doesn't seem to be reaching for a vision that will truly address global warming and energy independence. It just seems like a little bit more of the same. ... It's not so much what the president says, it's what he does not say. At this stage, I don't see it as a call for action. I don't see it as America as the leader. ... There's a song by Peggy Lee that's titled `Is that all there is?' Overall, it's a huge disappointment."


(Lesley Clark, David Goldstein, James Rosen, Kevin G. Hall, Tony Pugh and Michael Doyle contributed to this report.)


(c) 2007, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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