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Democratic Leaders Respond to State of the Union - 2004-01-21


Republicans are describing Tuesday's State of the Union Address as a success and a strong statement by President Bush of where he wants to take the nation. Democrats say he failed to lay out a clear direction for the country and they renewed criticisms of administration policy on Iraq and domestic issues.

Republicans say Mr. Bush demonstrated concern and compassion about domestic issues, from health care to education, and determination to prevail in Iraq and the war on terrorism.

Democrats take issue with this, citing economic weaknesses, job losses, and what they see as continuing gaps in homeland security.

In her part of the official opposition response, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Bush policies in Iraq left the United States isolated and placed virtually all the burdens on American taxpayers and U.S. troops.

"The president led us into the Iraq war, on the basis of unproven assertions, without evidence. He embraced a radical doctrine of pre-emptive war, unprecedented in our history, and he failed to build a true international coalition," she said.

Mr. Bush's third State of the Union Address was also a "kick-off," of sorts, of his re-election campaign.

It briefly diverted attention from early Democratic Party political contests which will eventually produce a nominee tochallenge him for the White House, next November.

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