Political strategists are calling tonight's State of the Union address the most important yet for President Bush. His approval ratings have declined to a 16-month low. This speech has many people talking about what the President needs to address in order to reunite the country.
Members of the South Dakota delegation are expecting President Bush to make a strong case for a war in Iraq. But they are also hoping the President will focus on reassuring Americans in this uncertain time.
Senator Daschle says, "I think there's an anxiety in our country. There's an anxiety especially in South Dakota about the war, about what's going to happen with Iraq, about the economy, about our ability to deal with health care adequately. Those are the things I hear every time I come home and I think it's going to be very important for the President to address that anxiety, that I'm sure he detects as well."
In last year's State of the Union speech, President Bush assured Americans the country would prevail in the war against terror, "The men and women of the armed forces have delivered a message to every enemy of the United States.. across oceans and continents... You will not escape the justice of this nation."
And still, one year later, war is at the forefront of the White House agenda. But, Senator Tim Johnson says Americans want the President to address domestic, as well as the international challenges.
Senator Johnson says, "I think they need to hear from the President that he's going to work with our allies and NATO and the United Nations to bring a global response to the problems we have in Iraq rather than a US-only kind of response. I think they want to hear that the President is on our side with things like veterans health care, agriculture, education and medicare."
While trying to rally public support for his economic plan and a possible war with Iraq, President Bush will also tell Congress what he hopes it will do this year.
Republican Congressman Bill Janklow told KELOLAND news this weekend that the President needs to lay out the facts and issues in front of the American people. Janklow expects Iraq to be a big topic in the President speech, but he too wants Mr. Bush to concentrate on the economy.