Bush lays out ’06 plan

He targeted halving the federal deficit and cutting our dependence on foreign oil.

President George W. Bush spoke to Congress and the nation last night in his annual State of the Union address. The speech touched on both foreign and domestic issues that Bush wants to draw attention to in 2006.

The University DFL gathered to watch the event near campus. Across the river in St. Paul, the University’s College Republicans also met to discuss the speech.

Jason Baskin, president of College Republicans, said the president gave a great speech.

“He did a good job laying out his bold vision for the future and where he wants to lead America,” he said.

Baskin said the content of the address will be important in the upcoming midterm elections.

“Issues will shape campaign rhetoric and message,” he said.

But DFL members were more critical of the president’s remarks, including his thoughts on domestic dependence on foreign oil.

“Having President Bush lecture us about addiction to foreign oil is like having Tom DeLay lecturing us about corruption in Washington, D.C.,” said Max Page, president of U-DFL group.

Political science professor Larry Jacobs said Bush seems to place more emphasis on foreign affairs rather than domestic ones.

“There were two different speeches presented (Tuesday night). His foreign policy was soaring with idealism. However, the domestic policy read like a standard laundry list,” Jacobs said.

Domestically, Bush described the nation’s economy as booming and targeted the federal budget deficit to be cut in half by 2009.

He identified Social Security and health care as important domestic issues for the coming year. Social Security reforms were a highlight of last year’s State of the Union address. The proposals eventually failed in Congress.

Among the foreign policy issues the president addressed were the ongoing conflict in Iraq and the “war on terror” in general. The president also set a goal for reducing domestic dependence on Middle Eastern oil by 75 percent by 2025.

A group of students gathered in the lobby of Comstock Hall to watch the president’s address.

Senior marketing major Joe Sweetman said he set an alarm so he wouldn’t miss the speech.

Sweetman said he considers himself politically conscious and that he wasn’t looking forward to discussion of any one issue.

“All issues are important,” he said. “There is not one I’m burning in the bosom to hear about.”

First-year global studies student Charlie Thorson said he expected to see the president’s approval ratings go up after Tuesday’s speech.

“He’ll see a spike due to his speaking ability, not due to the speech’s content,” Thorson said.