The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 20, 2004

State of the Union Excerpts

Tonight, President Bush will discuss the extraordinary challenges our country has faced and the historic achievements we have made. Yet he will also stress that there’s much more for our country to do:

"America this evening is a Nation called to great responsibilities. And we are rising to meet them…"

"We have not come all this way – through tragedy, and trial, and war – only to falter and leave our work unfinished. Americans are rising to the tasks of history, and they expect the same of us."

He will also remind the American people that we are a Nation still at war, and our government is meeting its responsibility to protect the American people:

"Our greatest responsibility is the active defense of the American people. Twenty-eight months have passed since September 11, 2001 – over two years without an attack on American soil – and it is tempting to believe that the danger is behind us. That hope is understandable, comforting – and false."

"...America is on the offensive against the terrorists..."

"As part of the offensive against terror, we are also confronting the regimes that harbor and support terrorists, and could supply them with nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons…"

"...Because of American leadership and resolve, the world is changing for the better…"

He will discuss the progress we’re making in Afghanistan and Iraq, and renew our commitment to ensuring those countries are free and peaceful:

"The men and women of Afghanistan are building a nation that is free, and proud, and fighting terror…"

"The work of building a new Iraq is hard, and it is right. And America has always been willing to do what it takes for what is right."

On priorities here at home, the President will discuss why he’s optimistic about our growing economy, and call on Congress to take action that will help turn our economic recovery into a lasting recovery. He will call on them to help train Americans for the jobs of the 21st Century:

"America’s growing economy is also a changing economy. As technology transforms the way almost every job is done, America becomes more productive, and workers need new skills… We must respond by helping more Americans gain the skills to find good jobs in our new economy."

President Bush will also discuss the importance of health care and the major cause for why Americans lack health insurance: the rising costs of health care.

"On the critical issue of health care, our goal is to ensure that Americans can choose and afford private health care coverage that best fits their individual needs. To make insurance more affordable, Congress must act to address rapidly rising health care costs."

Finally, the President will argue that in a time of great change in our country and world, the things that make our country strong should never change:

"We are living in a time of great change… Yet some things endure – courage and compassion, reverence and integrity, respect for differences of faith and race. The values we try to live by never change. And they are instilled in us by fundamental institutions, such as families, and schools, and religious congregations. These institutions – the unseen pillars of civilization – must remain strong in America…"

"All of us – parents, schools, government – must work together to counter the negative influence of the culture, and to send the right messages to our children."

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