Responses to Bush's State of the Union speech

"Congress has demonstrated in the last three weeks that great things happen for the American people when we work together. In his sixth State of the Union Address, President Bush once again talked about many of the issues facing our country. It is long past time to stop talking about our problems and start working to solve them. The Congress is delivering results, and doing it in a new way - by reaching across the aisle and putting the American people first.

"Unfortunately, tonight the president demonstrated he has not listened to Americans' single greatest concern: the war in Iraq. The overwhelming majority of Americans, military leaders, and a bipartisan coalition in Congress oppose the president's plan to escalate the war. Democrats, Republicans and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group have offered the president a plan to end our open-ended commitment to Iraq, transition the U.S. mission, and begin the phased redeployment of American troops. ..."

Nevada Republican Congressman Dean Heller

"It was my first. I've probably listened to 20 or so State of the Union speeches on TV. But there is nothing like being in those chambers and watching, listening, feeling, and I think I even told somebody, smelling history. If history smells, I smelled it tonight.

"Watching people's reactions on both sides of the aisle. Watching the gallery, every sense you had was on high alert. It was thrilling to be there."

Heller said the best part of President Bush's speech was the section dealing with the war in Iraq, which began at the speech's 20-minute mark.

"The best part was the discussion on the war. He defined for the first time the conflicts between the Sunis and the Shiites, those secular groups and the dangers they pose to the American people.

"I don't think he convinced anyone, but he communicated better this time on this issue than he's ever communicated in the past."


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