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Bush Asks Congress to Give New Iraq Plan 'Chance to Work'


President Bush has delivered his annual State of the Union address, urging Congress to give his new Iraq strategy a chance to work.

Mr. Bush said late Tuesday that "America must not fail in Iraq" and said his decision to send more than 20,000 additional U.S. troops provides the best chance of success.

Opposition Democrats who now control Congress, and some lawmakers from Mr. Bush's own Republican party, are skeptical about the plan.

Mr. Bush said that lawmakers "did not vote for failure" when most of them voted to authorize the 2003 Iraq invasion.

He warned that if U.S. forces leave before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be "overrun by extremists on all sides" and the conflict would engulf the entire Middle East. But he also said that the U.S. commitment in Iraq is not open-ended.

Mr. Bush said the United States is still at war as long as terrorists plot to murder the innocent. He said Americans advance their own security interests by helping moderates and reformers in the Middle East.

On other foreign policy issues, the president said Americans will continue to speak out for freedom in Cuba, Belarus and Burma, and to awaken the conscience of the world to save the people in Sudan's Darfur region.

Much of the address focused on the president's domestic agenda. The president called for a 20% cut in U.S. gasoline consumption over the next ten years. He said his goal can be reached through improved fuel economy standards in cars, and
increased use of alternative and renewable fuels like ethanol.

The president also called for comprehensive immigration reform and announced proposals to make health care insurance affordable for more Americans. He proposed a standard tax deduction for health insurance to help those who do not get coverage through their jobs.

Mr. Bush also asked Congress for authority to increase the size of the Army and the Marine Corps by a total of 92,000 troops.

The speech comes as the latest CBS News opinion poll indicates Mr. Bush's overall job approval rating has fallen to a new low, with just 28 percent of Americans approving his performance. The same poll says two-thirds of Americans oppose his
plan to send more troops to Iraq.

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