Excerpts from the president's State of the Union address:
Abroad, our nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal - we seek the end of tyranny in our world. Some dismiss that goal as misguided idealism. In reality, the future security of America depends on it. Every step toward freedom in the world makes our country safer, and so we will act boldly in freedom's cause.
With so much in the balance, those of us in public office have a duty to speak with candor. A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country and show that a pledge from America means little. Members of Congress: However we feel about the decisions and debates of the past, our nation has only one option: We must keep our word, defeat our enemies and stand behind the American military in its vital mission.
The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions - and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats. And tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.
It is said that prior to the attacks of Sept. 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al-Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late. So to prevent another attack - based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute - I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al-Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have - and federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed. This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America.
Keeping America competitive begins with keeping our economy growing. And our economy grows when Americans have more of their own money to spend, save and invest. In the last five years, the tax relief you passed has left $880 billion in the hands of American workers, investors, small businesses and families - and they have used it to help produce more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth. Yet the tax relief is set to expire in the next few years. If we do nothing, American families will face a massive tax increase they do not expect and will not welcome. Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief. I urge the Congress to act responsibly and make the tax cuts permanent.
Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security, yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away - and with every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse. So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. This commission should include members of Congress of both parties and offer bipartisan answers. We need to put aside partisan politics, work together and get this problem solved.
Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values and serves the interests of our economy. Our nation needs orderly and secure borders. To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally and reduces smuggling and crime at the border.
For all Americans, we must confront the rising cost of care strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and help people afford the insurance coverage they need. We will make wider use of electronic records and other health information technology, to help control costs and reduce dangerous medical errors. We will strengthen Health Savings Accounts - by making sure individuals and small-business employees can buy insurance with the same advantages that people working for big businesses now get. We will do more to make this coverage portable, so workers can switch jobs without having to worry about losing their health insurance. And because lawsuits are driving many good doctors out of practice - leaving women in nearly 1,500 American counties without a single OB-GYN - I ask the Congress to pass medical liability reform this year.
America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative - a 22 percent increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear energy.
We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips, stalks or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.
We need to encourage children to take more math and science, and make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. We have made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country. Tonight, I propose to train 70,000 high school teachers, to lead advanced-placement courses in math and science bring 30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms and give early help to students who struggle with math, so they have a better chance at good, high-wage jobs. If we ensure that America's children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world.
Text provided by the White House.