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Bush Set to Deliver Annual 'State of the Union' Speech Tuesday - 2004-01-20


President Bush goes before a joint session of Congress later Tuesday to deliver his annual State of the Union address.

In the nationally televised speech, Mr. Bush is expected to make the case that the United States is more prosperous and secure under his leadership.

On national security, the president is expected to stress successes in the Iraq war, including the capture of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. On domestic issues, he will talk about the economy and address the issue of rising health care costs.

White House officials indicate Mr. Bush's plan is to shift the focus of the public from the Democrats - one day after they began the process of choosing their presidential nominee - to his accomplishments and his vision for the future.

Following the president's address, Democratic Congressional leaders will present their party's response. They are expected to criticize Mr. Bush for a lack of new jobs in the country and his foreign policy.

Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California will jointly deliver their party's response.

Congresswoman Pelosi has said the president's Iraq policies have been marked by confusion and uncertainty, and called on him to explain how he plans to stabilize Iraq.

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