President Bush used his fifth State of the Union address on February 2, 2005 to state that the goal of all of his second-term agenda was to “do what Americans have always done, and build a better world for our children and grandchildren.”
In his 52-minute speech, he focused on three major objectives: Social Security, faith-based initiatives and the situation in Iraq.
“Social Security was a great moral success of the 20th century,” Bush said. “And we must honor its great purposes in this new century. The system, however, on its current path, is headed toward bankruptcy.”
Bush’s remarks on Social Security brought a rare vocal resistance from the democrats in the audience. “Noes” were heard throughout the audience. Bush quickly won back his audience with his pledge to consider solutions from a variety of sources.
“I will work with members of Congress to find the most effective combination of reforms,” Bush said. “I will listen to anyone who has a good idea to offer.”
After focusing on the problems of the older generation, Bush transitioned to the problems of urban youth
“Now we need to focus on giving young people, especially young men in our cities, better options than apathy, or gangs, or jail,” Bush said.
“Tonight I propose a three-year initiative to help organizations keep young people out of gangs and show young men an ideal of manhood that respects women and rejects violence.””Eleven years ago, Safia’s father was assassinated by Saddam’s intelligence service,” Bush said. “Three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote for the leaders of her country — and we are honored that she is with us tonight.”
The favorable outcome of the elections in Iraq created a far more receptive audience for his foreign policy agenda in the next term. The presence of Iraqi human rights worker Safia Taleb al-Suhail as an exemplar of success prompted Bush to outline a broad initiative for democracy in the Greater Middle East region.
“The beginnings of reform and democracy in the Palestinian territories are now showing the power of freedom to break old patterns of violence and failure,” Bush said. “Tomorrow morning, Secretary of State Rice departs on a trip that will take her to Israel and the West Bank for meetings with Prime Minister Sharon and President Abbas. She will discuss with them how we and our friends can help the Palestinian people end terror and build the institutions of a peaceful, independent democratic state.”
Bush’s $2.75 trillion budget proposed to Congress on February 7, 2005 cut spending on health programs, the environment, veterans and education. The budget boosts spending on the military and homeland security.
“It is a budget that sets priorities,” Bush said after a meeting with his Cabinet. “It’s a budget that reduces and eliminates redundancy. It’s a budget that’s a lean budget.”