Excerpts from 2008 State of the Union Address

?The actions of the 110th Congress will affect the security and
prosperity of our Nation long after this session has ended.  In
this election year, let us show our fellow Americans that we
recognize our responsibilities and are determined to meet them. 
And let us show them that Republicans and Democrats can compete
for votes and cooperate for results at the same time.?

 

On trusting and empowering the American people:

?From expanding opportunity to protecting our country, we
have made good progress.  Yet we have unfinished business before
us, and the American people expect us to get it done.  In the
work ahead, we must be guided by the philosophy that made our
Nation great.  As Americans, we believe in the power of
individuals to determine their destiny and shape the course of
history?So in all we do, we must trust in the ability of free
people to make wise decisions, and empower them to improve their
lives and their futures.?

 

On the economy:

?To build a prosperous future, we must trust people with
their own money and empower them to grow our economy.  As we
meet tonight, our economy is undergoing a period of uncertainty?
And at kitchen tables across our country, there is concern about
our economic future.  In the long run, Americans can be confident
about our economic growth.?

 

On earmarks:

?The people's trust in their Government is undermined
by congressional earmarks

 

On housing:

We must trust Americans with the responsibility of
homeownership and empower them to weather turbulent times in the
housing market.?

 

On strengthening No Child Left Behind:

?On education, we must trust students to learn if given the
chance and empower parents to demand results from our schools. 
In neighborhoods across our country, there are boys and girls
with dreams -- and a decent education is their only hope of
achieving them.  Six years ago, we came together to pass the No
Child Left Behind Act, and today no one can deny its results? 
Now we must work together to increase accountability, add
flexibility for States and districts, reduce the number of high
school dropouts, and provide extra help for struggling schools. 
Members of Congress:  The No Child Left Behind Act is a
bipartisan achievement.  It is succeeding.  And we owe it to
America's children, their parents, and their teachers to
strengthen this good law.?

 

On the importance of trade:

?On trade, we must trust American workers to compete with anyone
in the world and empower them by opening up new markets
overseas.  Today, our economic growth increasingly depends on our
ability to sell American goods, crops, and services all over the
world? These agreements will level the playing field.  They will
give us better access to nearly 100 million customers.  And they
will support good jobs for the finest workers in the world:
 those whose products say ?Made in the USA.?" 

 

?If we fail to pass this [Colombia free trade] agreement, we will
embolden the purveyors of false populism in our hemisphere.  So
we must come together, pass this agreement, and show our
neighbors in the region that democracy leads to a better life.?

 

On improving our energy security:

?To build a future of energy security, we must trust in
the creative genius of American researchers and entrepreneurs
and empower them to pioneer a new generation of clean energy
technology.  Our security, our prosperity, and our environment
all require reducing our dependence on oil.?

 

On combating climate change:

?Let us create a new international clean technology fund, which
will help developing nations like India and China make greater
use of clean energy sources.  And let us complete an
international agreement that has the potential to slow, stop, and
eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.  This
agreement will be effective only if it includes commitments by
every major economy and gives none a free ride.?

 

On entitlement reform and immigration:

?There are two other pressing challenges that I have raised
repeatedly before this body, and that this body has failed to
address:  entitlement spending and immigration.  Every Member in
this chamber knows that spending on entitlement programs like
Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is growing faster than we
can afford?Now I ask Members of Congress to offer your proposals
and come up with a bipartisan solution to save these vital
programs for our children and grandchildren.?

 

On the freedom agenda:

?Illegal immigration is complicated, but it can be resolved.  And
it must be resolved in a way that upholds both our laws and our
highest ideals.?

 

On the surge in Iraq:

?Our foreign policy is based on a clear premise:  We trust that
people, when given the chance, will choose a future of freedom
and peace.  In the last 7 years, we have witnessed stirring
moments in the history of liberty?And these images of liberty
have inspired us.  In the past 7 years, we have also seen images
that have sobered us?[and] serve as a grim reminder:  The advance
of liberty is opposed by terrorists and extremists -- evil men
who despise freedom, despise America, and aim to subject millions
to their violent rule.?

 

?The Iraqi people quickly realized that something dramatic
had happened.  Those who had worried that America was preparing
to abandon them instead saw?our forces moving into neighborhoods,
clearing out the terrorists, and staying behind to ensure the
enemy did not return?While the enemy is still dangerous and more
work remains, the American and Iraqi surges have achieved results
few of us could have imagined just 1 year ago

 

Some may deny the surge is working, but among the terrorists
there is no doubt.  Al Qaida is on the run in Iraq, and this
enemy will be defeated.?

 

On our 2008 objectives in Iraq:

?Our enemies in Iraq have been hit hard.  They are not yet
defeated, and we can still expect tough fighting ahead.  Our
objective in the coming year is to sustain and build on the gains
we made in 2007, while transitioning to the next phase of our
strategy.  American troops are shifting from leading operations,
to partnering with Iraqi forces, and, eventually, to a protective
overwatch mission.?

 

On this generation rising to the moment in the war on terror:

?We must do the difficult work today, so that years from now
people will look back and say that this generation rose to the
moment, prevailed in a tough fight, and left behind a more
hopeful region and a safer America.?

 

On Iran:

?Our message to the people of Iran is clear:  We have no quarrel
with you, we respect your traditions and your history, and we
look forward to the day when you have your freedom.  Our message
to the leaders of Iran is also clear:  Verifiably suspend your
nuclear enrichment, so negotiations can begin.  And to rejoin the
community of nations, come clean about your nuclear intentions
and past actions, stop your oppression at home, and cease your
support for terror abroad.  But above all, know this:  America
will confront those who threaten our troops, we will stand by our
allies, and we will defend our vital interests in the Persian
Gulf.?

 

On the American people:

?The secret of our strength, the miracle of America, is that our
greatness lies not in our Government, but in the spirit and
determination of our people.?