Time for America's annual dose of political cynicism. Get out the popcorn, here comes the judge....

Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished citizens and fellow citizens,

...I guess that means the not-so-distinguished ones....

every year, by law and by custom, we meet here to consider the state of the union. This year, we gather in this chamber deeply aware of decisive days that lie ahead.

Sorry, this speech is going to be how long?

You and I serve our country in a time of great consequence. During this session of Congress, we have the duty to reform domestic programs vital to our country; we have the opportunity to save millions of lives abroad from a terrible disease. We will work for a prosperity that is broadly shared, and we will answer every danger and every enemy that threatens the American people.
In all these days of promise and days of reckoning, we can be confident.

Ah reckon, yup.

During the last two years we have seen what can be accomplished when we work together.

Political deadlock?

To lift the standards of our public schools, we achieved historic education reform which must now be carried out in every school and in every classroom so that every child in America can read and learn and succeed in life.

Reform, yes. Money, no.

To protect our country, we reorganized our government and created the Department of Homeland Security, which is mobilizing against the threats of a new era.

We're not sure where, or how, but they're really mobilizing, yessir. Mobile as anything, that's our Department.

To bring our economy out of recession, we delivered the largest tax relief in a generation.

You mispronounced "national debt" back there, Dubya.

To insist on integrity in American business, we passed tough reforms, and we are holding corporate criminals to account.

Except the ones who funded my election campaign, but you all expected as much.

Some might call this a good record. I call it a good start. Tonight I ask the House and the Senate to join me in the next bold steps to serve our fellow citizens.

Impeachment?

Our first goal is clear: We must have an economy that grows fast enough to employ every man and woman who seeks a job.

Never mind that no nation in history has completely accomplished that feat.

After recession, terrorist attacks, corporate scandals and stock market declines, our economy is recovering. Yet it is not growing fast enough, or strongly enough.

Awww, didn't Mr. President get enough Christmas presents?

With unemployment rising, our nation needs more small businesses to open, more companies to invest and expand, more employers to put up the sign that says, "Help Wanted."
Jobs are created when the economy grows; the economy grows when Americans have more money to spend and invest;

And the 2003 "Master of the Obvious" Award goes to....

and the best and fairest way to make sure Americans have that money is not to tax it away in the first place.

Short-sighted, but okay!

I am proposing that all the income tax reductions set for 2004 and 2006 be made permanent and effective this year.

Yeah! Screw the federal budget! The ink wasn't dry yet!

And under my plan, as soon as I've signed the bill, this extra money will start showing up in workers' paychecks.

Before moving quickly to the credit card bill.

Instead of gradually reducing the marriage penalty, we should do it now.
Instead of slowly raising the child credit to $1,000, we should send the checks to American families now.

Don't you at least want to wait until April 15?

This tax relief is for everyone who pays income taxes, and it will help our economy immediately. Ninety-two million Americans will keep this year an average of almost $1,100 more of their own money. A family of four with an income of $40,000 would see their federal income taxes fall from $1,178 to $45 per year.

Let's see, $1,100 per year, that's $92 per month, about $23 per week... ooh, I can go to McDonald's every day now!

And our plan will improve the bottom line for more than 23 million small businesses.

Which part, the child tax credit or ending the marriage penalty?

You, the Congress, have already passed all these reductions, and promised them for future years.
If this tax relief is good for Americans three or five or seven years from now, it is even better for Americans today.

Can we apply that same reasoning to the legal drinking age, do you think?

We should also strengthen the economy by treating investors equally in our tax laws. It's fair to tax a company's profits. It is not fair to again tax the shareholder on the same profits.
To boost investor confidence, and to help the nearly 10 million seniors who receive dividend income, I ask you to end the unfair double taxation of dividends.

And yet you continue to tax our paychecks, despite the fact that the logic is just as applicable.

Lower taxes and greater investment will help this economy expand. More jobs mean more taxpayers and higher revenues to our government.

$100 billion worth of taxpayers? He's confident, I'll give him that.

The best way to address the deficit and move toward a balanced budget is to encourage economic growth and to show some spending discipline in Washington, D.C.

Except me. You discipline. Me give away back account.

We must work together to fund only our most important priorities. I will send you a budget that increases discretionary spending by 4 percent next year, about as much as the average family's income is expected to grow. And that is a good benchmark for us: federal spending should not rise any faster than the paychecks of American families.

Notice how quickly he forgets that he just gave back all the taxes from those paychecks?

A growing economy and a focus on essential priorities will be crucial to the future of Social Security. As we continue to work together to keep Social Security sound and reliable, we must offer younger workers a chance to invest in retirement accounts that they will control and they will own.

You mean no one's told him what an IRA is yet?

Our second goal is high quality, affordable health for all Americans.

You mean they'll finally put my Rogaine on my medical card?

The American system of medicine is a model of skill and innovation, with a pace of discovery that is adding good years to our lives. Yet for many people, medical care costs too much, and many have no coverage at all.
These problems will not be solved with a nationalized health care system that dictates coverage and rations care.

Never know until you try....

Instead, we must work toward a system in which all Americans have a good insurance policy, choose their own doctors, and seniors and low-income Americans receive the help they need.

And if you can find a way to make that cost $1,100 per year, I'll re-elect you right now.

Instead of bureaucrats and trial lawyers and HMOs, we must put doctors and nurses and patients back in charge of American medicine.
Health care reform must begin with Medicare; Medicare is the binding commitment of a caring society.

Mostly. Except when it doesn't pay up.

We must renew that commitment by giving seniors access to the preventive medicine and new drugs that are transforming health care in America.

Translation: he really likes his Viagra.

Seniors happy with the current Medicare system should be able to keep their coverage just the way it is.
And just like you, the members of Congress, and your staffs and other federal employees, all seniors should have the choice of a health care plan that provides prescription drugs.
My budget will commit an additional $400 billion over the next decade to reform and strengthen Medicare. Leaders of both political parties have talked for years about strengthening Medicare. I urge the members of this new Congress to act this year.

Running total: $500 billion and counting.

To improve our health care system, we must address one of the prime causes of higher cost: the constant threat that physicians and hospitals will be unfairly sued.

No more lawsuits! No more lawsuits!

Because of excessive litigation, everybody pays more for health care, and many parts of America are losing fine doctors. No one has ever been healed by a frivolous lawsuit; I urge the Congress to pass medical liability reform.

What's the difference between a frivolous lawsuit and a reasonable one? Two letters to the editor.

Our third goal is to promote energy independence for our country, while dramatically improving the environment.
I have sent you a comprehensive energy plan to promote energy efficiency and conservation, to develop cleaner technology, and to produce more energy at home.

Alaskan oil drilling, right?

I have sent you clear skies legislation that mandates a 70 percent cut in air pollution from power plants over the next 15 years.

Because SUV exhaust isn't the real problem, nossir.

I have sent you a healthy forest initiative to help prevent the catastrophic fires that devastate communities, kill wildlife and burn away millions of acres of treasured forests.

Thanks, Smokey!

I urge you to pass these measures for the good of both our environment and our economy.

How'd he tie the economy to forest fire prevention?

Even more, I ask you to take a crucial step and protect our environment in ways that generations before us could not have imagined.

Theodore Roosevelt notwithstanding.

In this century, the greatest environmental progress will come about not through endless lawsuits or command-and-control regulations, but through technology and innovation.
Tonight I'm proposing $1.2 billion in research funding so that America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles.

Oh, his oil buddies'll love that one back in Texas.

A simple chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen generates energy, which can be used to power a car, producing only water, not exhaust fumes.

That whole liquid hydrogen at every gas pump across the nation thing? We'll work on that later.

With a new national commitment, our scientists and engineers will overcome obstacles to taking these cars from laboratory to showroom, so that the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen, and pollution-free.
Join me in this important innovation to make our air significantly cleaner, and our country much less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

Maybe he's bitter that the hybrid electric engine is being developed in Japan?

Our fourth goal is to apply the compassion of America to the deepest problems of America. For so many in our country -- the homeless, and the fatherless, the addicted -- the need is great. Yet there is power -- wonder-working power -- in the goodness and idealism and faith of the American people.

"Wonder-working"?

Americans are doing the work of compassion every day: visiting prisoners, providing shelter for battered women, bringing companionship to lonely seniors. These good works deserve our praise, they deserve our personal support and, when appropriate, they deserve the assistance of the federal government.

You're going to propose legislation to add two hours to every day?

I urge you to pass both my faith-based initiative and the Citizen Service Act to encourage acts of compassion that can transform America one heart and one soul at a time.

You could just go back to supporting the Boy Scouts, too.

Last year, I called on my fellow citizens to participate in the USA Freedom Corps, which is enlisting tens of thousands of new volunteers across America.
Tonight I ask Congress and the American people to focus the spirit of service and the resources of government on the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens: boys and girls trying to grow up without guidance and attention, and children who have to go through a prison gate to be hugged by their mom or dad.
I propose a $450 million initiative to bring mentors to more than a million disadvantaged junior high students and children of prisoners.

We love to stay at the YMCA!...

Government will support the training and recruiting of mentors, yet it is the men and women of America who will fill the need. One mentor, one person, can change a life forever, and I urge you to be that one person.
Another cause of hopelessness is addiction to drugs. Addiction crowds out friendship, ambition, moral conviction, and reduces all the richness of life to a single destructive desire.

You can have my Mountain Dew when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers, buster.

As a government, we are fighting illegal drugs by cutting off supplies and reducing demand through anti-drug education programs. Yet for those already addicted, the fight against drugs is a fight for their own lives.
Too many Americans in search of treatment cannot get it. So tonight I propose a new $600 million program to help an additional 300,000 Americans receive treatment over the next three years.

Just gimme the cash, I'll start quitting tomorrow, I promise.

Our nation is blessed with recovery programs that do amazing work. One of them is found at the Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A man in the program said, "God does miracles in people's lives, and you never think it could be you."
Tonight, let us bring to all Americans who struggle with drug addiction this message of hope: The miracle of recovery is possible, and it could be you.
By caring for children who need mentors, and for addicted men and women who need treatment, we are building a more welcoming society, a culture that values every life.

And so, by way of clever segue....

And in this work we must not overlook the weakest among us. I ask you to protect infants at the very hour of their birth and end the practice of partial-birth abortion.
And because no human life should be started or ended as the object of an experiment, I ask you to set a high standard for humanity and pass a law against all human cloning.

Now quick, move on before anybody can stop to think about the death penalty as practiced in the state of Texas.

The qualities of courage and compassion that we strive for in America also determine our conduct abroad. The American flag stands for more than our power and our interests. Our founders dedicated this country to the cause of human dignity, the rights of every person and the possibilities of every life.

They never promised you dignity, Dubya.

This conviction leads us into the world to help the afflicted, and defend the peace, and confound the designs of evil men.

Does he mean Democrats?

In Afghanistan, we helped to liberate an oppressed people, and we will continue helping them secure their country, rebuild their society and educate all their children, boys and girls.

"Everyone now: 'Bush is good! Osama is bad!'"

In the Middle East, we will continue to seek peace between a secure Israel and a democratic Palestine.

Meanwhile, I will continue to seek a profit from the multi-state lottery.

Across the Earth, America is feeding the hungry. More than 60 percent of international food aid comes as a gift from the people of the United States.

On behalf of those people, I apologize for the freeze-dried beef stew. I would've sent peanut butter sandwiches myself.

As our nation moves troops and builds alliances to make our world safer, we must also remember our calling, as a blessed country, is to make the world better.
Remember, God likes us best!
Today, on the continent of Africa, nearly 30 million people have the AIDS virus, including 3 million children under the age of 15. There are whole countries in Africa where more than one-third of the adult population carries the infection. More than 4 million require immediate drug treatment. Yet across that continent, only 50,000 AIDS victims -- only 50,000 -- are receiving the medicine they need.
Because the AIDS diagnosis is considered a death sentence, many do not seek treatment. Almost all who do are turned away.
A doctor in rural South Africa describes his frustration. He says, "We have no medicines, many hospitals tell people, 'You've got AIDS. We can't help you. Go home and die.'"
In an age of miraculous medicines, no person should have to hear those words.

Please, don't tell me he's going to export our HMOs.

AIDS can be prevented. Anti-retroviral drugs can extend life for many years. And the cost of those drugs has dropped from $12,000 a year to under $300 a year, which places a tremendous possibility within our grasp.
Ladies and gentlemen, seldom has history offered a greater opportunity to do so much for so many.
We have confronted, and will continue to confront, HIV/AIDS in our own country. And to meet a severe and urgent crisis abroad, tonight I propose the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a work of mercy beyond all current international efforts to help the people of Africa.
This comprehensive plan will prevent 7 million new AIDS infections, treat at least 2 million people with life-extending drugs and provide humane care for millions of people suffering from AIDS and for children orphaned by AIDS.

I want to see Bush demonstrate how to put a condom on a banana for some rural tribe, on camera, just once....

I ask the Congress to commit $15 billion over the next five years, including nearly $10 billion in new money, to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean.

$3 billion a year, but then he already gave away $500 billion, so what's a few more pennies....

This nation can lead the world in sparing innocent people from a plague of nature.

"Plague of nature"? Like locusts and frogs and stuff?

And this nation is leading the world in confronting and defeating the man-made evil of international terrorism.

Another clever segue!

There are days when our fellow citizens do not hear news about the war on terror. There's never a day when I do not learn of another threat, or receive reports of operations in progress or give an order in this global war against a scattered network of killers.

Bushie needs a backrub.

The war goes on, and we are winning.

I want to see stats.

To date we have arrested or otherwise dealt with many key commanders of Al Qaida. They include a man who directed logistics and funding for the September the 11th attacks, the chief of Al Qaida operations in the Persian Gulf who planned the bombings of our embassies in East Africa and the USS Cole, an Al Qaida operations chief from Southeast Asia, a former director of Al Qaida's training camps in Afghanistan, a key Al Qaida operative in Europe, a major Al Qaida leader in Yemen.
All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries.

Leaving something like 2,997,000 to go.

And many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: They are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.

They have SEEN the light! Hallelujah!

We are working closely with other nations to prevent further attacks. America and coalition countries have uncovered and stopped terrorist conspiracies targeting the embassy in Yemen, the American embassy in Singapore, a Saudi military base, ships in the Strait of Hormuz and the Strait of Gibraltar. We've broken Al Qaida cells in Hamburg and Milan and Madrid and London and Paris -- as well as Buffalo, New York.
We've got the terrorists on the run. We're keeping them on the run. One by one the terrorists are learning the meaning of American justice.

You're subjecting them to frivolous lawsuits?

As we fight this war, we will remember where it began: here, in our own country. This government is taking unprecedented measures to protect our people and defend our homeland.

For instance, here behind curtain number one....

We've intensified security at the borders and ports of entry, posted more than 50,000 newly trained federal screeners in airports, begun inoculating troops and first responders against smallpox, and are deploying the nation's first early warning network of sensors to detect biological attack.

Not that this makes it any easier for me to get through airport security with a keychain pocketknife.

And this year, for the first time, we are beginning to field a defense to protect this nation against ballistic missiles.

Plan #943: we'll scare up entire flocks of migrating ducks to deflect the missiles into the sea! We've almost got the kinks worked out!

I thank the Congress for supporting these measures. I ask you tonight to add to our future security with a major research and production effort to guard our people against bio-terrorism, called Project Bioshield.

Nice name. Very James Bond.

The budget I send you will propose almost $6 billion to quickly make available effective vaccines and treatments against agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, ebola and plague. We must assume that our enemies would use these diseases as weapons, and we must act before the dangers are upon us.

Good, because we weren't losing the war against evolved bacterial resistance to medications quite quickly enough.

Since September the 11th, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have worked more closely than ever to track and disrupt the terrorists. The FBI is improving its ability to analyze intelligence, and is transforming itself to meet new threats.

Insert favorite "government intelligence" joke here.

Tonight, I am instructing the leaders of the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to develop a Terrorist Threat Integration Center to merge and analyze all threat information in a single location.

Can't you just build them a blog like everyone else?

Our government must have the very best information possible, and we will use it to make sure the right people are in the right places to protect our citizens.

This just in: Miss Cleo is now on the government's payroll....

Our war against terror is a contest of will in which perseverance is power. In the ruins of two towers, at the western wall of the Pentagon, on a field in Pennsylvania, this nation made a pledge, and we renew that pledge tonight: Whatever the duration of this struggle and whatever the difficulties, we will not permit the triumph of violence in the affairs of men; free people will set the course of history.
Today, the gravest danger in the war on terror, the gravest danger facing America and the world, is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Oooh, time for the main event!

These regimes could use such weapons for blackmail, terror and mass murder. They could also give or sell those weapons to terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation.

Except they haven't. But they would. Probably. Maybe.

This threat is new; America's duty is familiar.

Tell every other country on earth what they should be doing?

Throughout the 20th century, small groups of men seized control of great nations, built armies and arsenals, and set out to dominate the weak and intimidate the world.
In each case, their ambitions of cruelty and murder had no limit. In each case, the ambitions of Hitlerism,

Godwin's Law invoked, end of presentation.

militarism and communism were defeated by the will of free peoples, by the strength of great alliances and by the might of the United States of America.
Now, in this century, the ideology of power and domination has appeared again and seeks to gain the ultimate weapons of terror.

But I swear to you now, they will not acquire the Teletubbies!

Once again, this nation and our friends are all that stand between a world at peace, and a world of chaos and constant alarm.

He can only say that because his daughters are out of the house.

Once again, we are called to defend the safety of our people and the hopes of all mankind. And we accept this responsibility.
America is making a broad and determined effort to confront these dangers.

We're going to go to war any day now, really.

We have called on the United Nations to fulfill its charter and stand by its demand that Iraq disarm. We are strongly supporting the International Atomic Energy Agency in its mission to track and control nuclear materials around the world. We are working with other governments to secure nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union and to strengthen global treaties banning the production and shipment of missile technologies and weapons of mass destruction.

Because terrorists always listen to global treaties, right?

In all of these efforts, however, America's purpose is more than to follow a process. It is to achieve a result: the end of terrible threats to the civilized world.

I'd like to nominate my boss to that list.

All free nations have a stake in preventing sudden and catastrophic attacks, and we're asking them to join us, and many are doing so.

"The rest of you, I'll see you after class."

Yet the course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others.

Just me, baby. Just me.

Whatever action is required, whenever action is necessary, I will defend the freedom and security of the American people.

"With my bare hands and a chisel, if necessary!"

Different threats require different strategies. In Iran we continue to see a government that represses its people, pursues weapons of mass destruction and supports terror.

We'll invade them second.

We also see Iranian citizens risking intimidation and death as they speak out for liberty and human rights and democracy. Iranians, like all people, have a right to choose their own government, and determine their own destiny, and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom.
On the Korean Peninsula, an oppressive regime rules a people living in fear and starvation. Throughout the 1990s, the United States relied on a negotiated framework to keep North Korea from gaining nuclear weapons. We now know that that regime was deceiving the world and developing those weapons all along.

"They told us it was for a model rocket, and, well, like an idiot, I believed them...."

And today the North Korean regime is using its nuclear program to incite fear and seek concessions.

We'll invade them third.

America and the world will not be blackmailed.

Or maybe fourth.

America is working with the countries of the region -- South Korea, Japan, China and Russia -- to find a peaceful solution and to show the North Korean government that nuclear weapons will bring only isolation, economic stagnation and continued hardship.

Unless you're a global superpower democracy, like us!

The North Korean regime will find respect in the world and revival for its people only when it turns away from its nuclear ambitions.
Our nation and the world must learn the lessons of the Korean Peninsula and not allow an even greater threat to rise up in Iraq. A brutal dictator, with a history of reckless aggression, with ties to terrorism, with great potential wealth will not be permitted to dominate a vital region and threaten the United States.

Because let's face it, world... where would you be without us?

Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein faced the prospect of being the last casualty in a war he had started and lost. To spare himself, he agreed to disarm of all weapons of mass destruction.
For the next 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement. He pursued chemical, biological and nuclear weapons even while inspectors were in his country.

Gee. Imagine that.

Nothing to date has restrained him from his pursuit of these weapons: not economic sanctions, not isolation from the civilized world, not even cruise missile strikes on his military facilities.

We did not stop him with a bank, we did not stop him with a tank....

Almost three months ago, the United Nations Security Council gave Saddam Hussein his final chance to disarm. He has shown instead utter contempt for the United Nations and for the opinion of the world.

You're in time-out now, buster!

The 108 U.N. inspectors were not sent to conduct a scavenger hunt for hidden materials across a country the size of California. The job of the inspectors is to verify that Iraq's regime is disarming.
It is up to Iraq to show exactly where it is hiding its banned weapons, lay those weapons out for the world to see and destroy them as directed. Nothing like this has happened.
Does the Second Amendment apply to nuclear warheads, by the way?
The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons materials sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax, enough doses to kill several million people. He hasn't accounted for that material. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed it.

Sorry, we're Americans.... what's a liter?

The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure. He hasn't accounted for that material. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed it.
Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. In such quantities, these chemical agents could also kill untold thousands. He's not accounted for these materials. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

"Look, I told you guys, it was sandwich mustard...."

U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. Inspectors recently turned up 16 of them, despite Iraq's recent declaration denying their existence. Saddam Hussein has not accounted for the remaining 29,984 of these prohibited munitions. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.
From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs. These are designed to produce germ warfare agents and can be moved from place to a place to evade inspectors.
That's for those of you who don't know what "mobile" or "lab" or "biological" means.
Saddam Hussein has not disclosed these facilities. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb.

Probably downloaded them off the Internet, darn that Anarchist's Handbook.

The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

Unfortunately for him, our undercover FBI agents cleverly disguised as trench coat-wearing African uranium smugglers caught him red-handed. Next on "COPS in Iraq"!

Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.

Maybe he just wants some of those nifty tin-foil hats.

Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.

Bad military dictator!

The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary, he is deceiving.

You just said that.

From intelligence sources, we know, for instance, that thousands of Iraqi security personnel are at work hiding documents and materials from the U.N. inspectors, sanitizing inspection sites and monitoring the inspectors themselves.

Whoa, bet the American people didn't see that one coming!

Iraqi officials accompany the inspectors in order to intimidate witnesses. Iraq is blocking U-2 surveillance flights requested by the United Nations.
Iraqi intelligence officers are posing as the scientists inspectors are supposed to interview. Real scientists have been coached by Iraqi officials on what to say.

"We... do... not... speak... English!"

Intelligence sources indicate that Saddam Hussein has ordered that scientists who cooperate with U.N. inspectors in disarming Iraq will be killed, along with their families.
Year after year, Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risks to build and keep weapons of mass destruction. But why?

Oooh, I know, I know!

The only possible explanation, the only possible use he could have for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate or attack.

Oh, I was going to say "to impress the girls."

With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein could resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East and create deadly havoc in that region.
And this Congress and the American people must recognize another threat. Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al Qaida. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own.

Didn't we know that a year and a half ago?

Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained.

Or stomped out. Or shot to death. Or overthrown via military intervention.

Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans, this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.

You've been watching "The Stand" again, haven't you?

We will do everything in our power to make sure that that day never comes.
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?

Burning Baghdad to the ground and leaving its people a pile of smoldering corpses is the only solution, I'm telling you guys....

If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

Because by golly, I'm up for re-election in just a year and a half.

The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages, leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind or disfigured.
Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained: by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape.
If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning.

Thanks, that really took the edge off.

And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country.

I doubt they're watching, but thanks for the sentiment.

And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation.

We'll probably have to annex you to Israel, but trust us, you'll be happier!

The world has waited 12 years for Iraq to disarm. America will not accept a serious and mounting threat to our country and our friends and our allies.
The United States will ask the U.N. Security Council to convene on February the 5th to consider the facts of Iraq's ongoing defiance of the world. Secretary of State Powell will present information and intelligence about Iraq's illegal weapons programs, its attempts to hide those weapons from inspectors and its links to terrorist groups.

For the seventy-sixth time.

We will consult, but let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm for the safety of our people, and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.

And boy, do we mean it this time!

Tonight I have a message for the men and women who will keep the peace, members of the American armed forces. Many of you are assembling in or near the Middle East, and some crucial hours may lay ahead.

Take two naps.

In those hours, the success of our cause will depend on you. Your training has prepared you. Your honor will guide you. You believe in America and America believes in you.
Sending Americans into battle is the most profound decision a president can make. The technologies of war have changed. The risks and suffering of war have not.
For the brave Americans who bear the risk, no victory is free from sorrow.
This nation fights reluctantly, because we know the cost, and we dread the days of mourning that always come.
We seek peace. We strive for peace. And sometimes peace must be defended. A future lived at the mercy of terrible threats is no peace at all.
If war is forced upon us, we will fight in a just cause and by just means, sparing, in every way we can, the innocent.

Because we have such a good track record at that sort of thing.

And if war is forced upon us, we will fight with the full force and might of the United States military, and we will prevail.

Whoot! Whoot! Whoot!

And as we and our coalition partners are doing in Afghanistan, we will bring to the Iraqi people food and medicines and supplies and freedom.

Got a little ways to go, darn those warlords, but we're working on it, promise.

Many challenges, abroad and at home, have arrived in a single season. In two years, America has gone from a sense of invulnerability to an awareness of peril, from bitter division in small matters to calm unity in great causes.

And it's all because of ... me!

And we go forward with confidence, because this call of history has come to the right country.
Americans are a resolute people, who have risen to every test of our time. Adversity has revealed the character of our country, to the world, and to ourselves.

That whole Korean War and Vietnam thing? They don't count.

America is a strong nation and honorable in the use of our strength. We exercise power without conquest, and we sacrifice for the liberty of strangers.

And remember, world: it's for your own good!

Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world; it is God's gift to humanity.

And God likes us best, which is why we have so much of it.

We Americans have faith in ourselves, but not in ourselves alone. We do not claim to know all the ways of Providence, yet we can trust in them, placing our confidence in the loving God behind all of life and all of history.

He's awfully prophetic lately, isn't he?

May he guide us now, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

Because He knows we need it.

Thank you.

'Welcome.

The Democratic Response to George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address was given on January 28, 2003, by Gary Locke, governor of Washington state and the first Asian-American governor in the history of the United States.

In his Response, Locke voiced support for Bush's current policy of working with the UN (and the world community) in dealing with Saddam Hussein (implying that we should stay this course, that we should not unilaterally declare war on Iraq without support from our allies...a direction Bush seemed to suggest transitioning toward in his Address).

Locke also discussed America's ailing economy, attacking Bush's proposed economic stimulus plan for its blatant pandering to the top 1% (people who make over $300,000 a year). He then outlined an alternative plan devised by Democrats to provide a prescription benefit for Medicare, strengthen Social Security, and extend unemployment benefits while avoiding the costly deficit spending relied upon by the Bush plan.

In the end, Locke conceded that the Republicans do indeed currently control both the executive and legislative branches of government. But, he added, "We Democrats will hold the administration and congressional leaders accountable."

Governor Locke's Response is reproduced below.


Good evening. I'm Gary Locke, the governor of Washington state. It's an honor to give the response to President Bush on behalf of my family, my state, my fellow Democratic governors, and the Democratic Party. Tonight, I'd like to offer our view of how to strengthen America.

My grandfather came to this country from China nearly a century ago, and worked as a servant. Now, I serve as governor just one mile from where my grandfather worked. It took our family a hundred years to travel that mile — it was a voyage we could only make in America.

The values that sustained us — education, hard work, responsibility and family — guide me every day. I want every person to have the chance this country gave our family. But like many of you, I am concerned about the challenges now before us.

Tonight, President Bush spoke about the threats we face from terrorists and dictators abroad.

Many of the young Americans who fought in Afghanistan — and who tonight are still defending our freedom — were trained in Washington state. We are so grateful to them, to all the members of our armed services and their families — and we pray for their safe return.

But the war against terror is not over. Al Qaeda still targets Americans. Osama Bin Laden is still at large. As we rise to the many challenges around the globe, let us never lose sight of who attacked our people here at home.

We also support the president in working with our allies and the United Nations to eliminate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il of North Korea. Make no mistake: Saddam Hussein is a ruthless tyrant, and he must give up his weapons of mass destruction.

We support the president in the course he has followed so far — working with Congress, working with the United Nations, insisting on strong and unfettered inspections. We need allies today in 2003, just as much as we needed them in Desert Storm and just as we needed them on D-Day in 1944, when American soldiers — including my father — fought to vanquish the Nazi threat.

We must convince the world that Saddam Hussein is not America's problem alone — he's the world's problem. We urge President Bush to stay this course for we are far stronger when we stand with other nations than when we stand alone. I have no doubt that together, we can meet these global challenges.

But to be strong abroad we need to be strong at home. And today, in too many ways, our country is headed in the wrong direction. We are missing the opportunity to strengthen America for the future.

Democrats have a positive, specific plan to turn our nation around.

Today, the economy is limping along. Some say it's a recovery, but for many people there's no recovery in our states and cities. There's no recovery in our rural communities. There's no recovery for working Americans and for those searching for jobs to feed and clothe their families.

After gaining 22 million jobs in eight years, we've now lost two million jobs in the last two years since President Bush took office — 100,000 lost last month alone. Two years ago, the federal budget was in surplus. Now, this administration's policies will produce massive deficits of over a trillion dollars over the next decade.

These policies have powerful and painful consequences. States and cities now face our worst budget crises since World War II. We're being forced to cut vital services from police to fire to health care — and many are being forced to raise taxes. We need a White House that understands the challenges our communities and people are facing across America.

We Democrats have a plan to restore prosperity so the United States once again becomes the great job engine it was in the 1990s. It's rooted in three principles. It must give our economy an immediate jump-start; it must benefit middle-class families rather than just a few; and it must be fiscally responsible, so we have the savings to strengthen Social Security and protect our homeland.

Our plan provides over $100 billion in tax relief and investments, right now: Tax relief for middle class and working families — immediately. Incentives for businesses to invest and create jobs — this year. Substantial help for cities and states like yours and mine — now. Extended unemployment benefits — without delay — for nearly a million American workers who have already exhausted their benefits. And all without passing on the bill to our children and grandchildren through exploding budget deficits for years to come.

Now, as you heard tonight, President Bush has a very different plan. We think it's upside-down economics: It does too little to stimulate the economy now and does too much to weaken our economic future.

It will create huge, permanent deficits that will raise interest rates, stifle growth, hinder home ownership and cut off the avenues of opportunity that have let so many work themselves up from poverty.

We believe every American should get a tax cut. That's the way to create broad-based growth. But we shouldn't spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a plan that helps neither the economy nor the families that need it most — while making it harder to save Social Security and invest in health care and education.

Think about it: Under the president's proposal to eliminate taxes on stock dividends, the top 1 percent — that's people who earn over $300,000 — would get more tax relief than the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers combined.

That's wrong. And it's irresponsible. Let's choose the right course — the successful and fair course — for our economy.

We have another urgent priority: homeland security. In this unprecedented fight against terror, the frontlines are in our own neighborhoods and communities.

This one hits home. In 1999, an al Qaeda operative tried to enter my state with a trunk full of explosives. Thankfully, he was caught just in time. Now, a year-and-a-half after September 11th, America is still far too vulnerable.

Last year Congress authorized $2.5 billion in vital new resources to protect our citizens — for equipment for firefighters and police, to protect ports, to guard against bioterrorism, to secure nuclear power plants, and more. It's hard to believe, but President Bush actually refused to release this money.

Republicans now say we can't afford it. The Democrats say: If we're serious about protecting our homeland, we can and we must.

Now, to strengthen America at home, there's much more to do. You and I know that education is the great equalizer, the hope of democracy, and the key to the information economy of the future.

In my state we have raised test scores, cut class sizes, trained teachers, launched innovative reading programs, offered college scholarships even as the federal government cut its aid to deserving students. Democrats worked with President Bush to pass a law that demands more of our students and invests more in our schools.

But his budget fails to give communities the help they need to meet these new, high standards. We say we want to leave no child behind, but our schools need more than kind words about education from Washington, D.C. — we need a real partnership to renew our schools.

Tonight, we also heard the president talk about health care. Too many seniors can't afford the remarkable new drugs that can save their lives — some are even skimping on food to pay for needed medication.

On this issue, the contrast is clear. Democrats insist on a Medicare prescription drug benefit for all seniors. President Bush says he supports a prescription drug benefit — but let's read the fine print: His plan only helps seniors who leave traditional Medicare.

Our parents shouldn't be forced to give up their doctor or join an HMO to get the medicine they need. That wouldn't save Medicare — it would privatize it. And it would put too many seniors at too much risk — just when they need the security of Medicare.

And, finally, let's talk about the environment and energy. Environmental protection has been a tremendous bipartisan success story over three decades. Our air and water are cleaner.

In communities in my state and yours, conservation is a way of life. But the administration is determined to roll back much of this progress. Our nation should lead global efforts to promote environmental responsibility, not shun them. And instead of opening up the Alaskan wilderness to oil drilling, we should be committed to a national policy to reduce our dependence on oil by promoting American technology and sustainability.

Yes, the Republican Party now controls the executive branch and both houses of Congress. But we Democrats will hold the administration and congressional leaders accountable.

We will work to create jobs and strengthen homeland security. We will fight to protect a woman's right to choose and we will fight for affirmative action, equal opportunity and diversity in our schools and our workplaces.

Above all, we will demand that this government advance our common purpose and not pander to narrow special interests.

That's the vision of the Democratic Party — in statehouses, in Congress, and in the homes of millions of Americans. We believe it's the best course for our nation. It is the vision we will work for — and stand for — in the coming year.

This is not an easy time. But I often think about my grandfather, arriving by steamship a hundred years ago. He had no family here; he spoke no English. I can only imagine how he must have felt as he looked out at his new country. There are millions of families like mine — people whose ancestors dreamed the American Dream and worked hard to make it come true. They transformed adversity into opportunity.

Yes, these are challenging times, but the American family — the American Dream — has prevailed before. That's the character of our people and the hallmark of our country. The lesson of our legacy is, if we work together, and make the right choices, we will become a stronger, more united and more prosperous nation.

Thank you for listening, and God Bless America.

Facts and Figures

The following is a series of interesting facts and figures relating to President George W. Bush's State of the Union Address:

sources: CNN, the New York Times, and optonline.net

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