Democrats slam Bush’s “‘failed policies”

Democrats slam Bush’s “‘failed policies”
# 29 January 2008 11:04 (UTC +04:00)
"Tonight, for the seventh long year, the American people heard a State of the Union that didn’t reflect the America we see, and didn’t address the challenges we face," Senator Obama said of Bush’s annual keynote policy speech to Congress.
"Tonight’s State of the Union was full of the same empty rhetoric the American people have come to expect from this president," he said in a statement criticizing Bush’s "failed politics and policies of the past."
Obama hit out at Bush for his economic stimulus plan announced last week that "leaves out seniors and fails to expand unemployment insurance."
"We know it was George Bush’s Washington that let the banks and financial institutions run amok, and take our economy down this dangerous road," he said.
Obama’s leading rival for the White House, Senator Clinton, called Bush’s speech "more of the same -- a frustrating commitment to the same failed policies that helped turn record surpluses into large deficits, and push a thriving 21st century economy to the brink of recession."
"We need immediate relief for people who are losing their jobs and facing skyrocketing home heating costs. And we need a comprehensive solution to the housing crisis," said the New York senator.
Obama and Clinton, facing down in an increasingly bitter race for the Democratic White House nomination, both took aim at Bush’s insistent stay-the-course policy in Iraq.
"President Bush isn’t satisfied with failure after failure in Iraq; he wants to bind the next president to his failed strategy by unilaterally negotiating with the Iraqi government about the future of the US-Iraq security relationship, including the possibility of permanent US bases in Iraq," Clinton said.
"Tonight we heard President Bush say that the surge in Iraq is working, when we know that’s just not true," Obama said.
"The only way we’re finally going to pressure the Iraqis to reconcile and take responsibility for their future is to immediately begin the responsible withdrawal of our combat brigades so that we can bring all of our combat troops home."
In an gentler official party response to Bush’s address, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sibelius asked the Republican president to cooperate with the Democrats, who control Congress, rather than defy them -- as he did in his speech Monday, threatening vetos of any tax and spending legislation he opposes.
"Join us, Mr. President: in working together with Congress to make tough, smart decisions, we will regain our standing in the world and protect our people and our interests," she said.
Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said Bush offered a vision "too small for many of the challenges we face."
"The president gave no hope for an end to the war in Iraq, approaching the five-year mark, with no political reconciliation, and too great a toll on our troops, our trust, and our treasury," the two Democrats said in a statement.
Responding to Bush’s claim that the Iraq troop hike of the past year has "achieved results few of us could have imagined," Pelosi and Reid riposted that the surge has failed in its original objective: "to have the Iraqi government achieve the political reconciliation necessary to create a stable Iraq."
Senior Senator Ted Kennedy said Bush’s speech showed why "Americans must be more convinced than ever that it’s time for change."
"They’ve heard seven long years of broken promises from this administration," Kennedy said.
"We didn’t hear a real plan for tackling health care or education, our economy or the housing crisis, or even the war in Iraq, but we have a chance this year to elect a president who does," said Kennedy, who earlier Monday endorsed Obama’s quest for the Democratic presidential nomination. /APA/
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