President George W Bush plans to address the United States in his annual State of the Union remarks on 31 January 2006. During a press conference at the White House, President Bush said that going forward he will offer an optimistic agenda to protect the United States from terrorism while keeping the economy growing at a fast pace. Economic figures released by the White House put 2005 growth at 3.5 percent, down from 4.2 percent in 2004.
Additionally, President Bush will try to sell the public on health care saving accounts, which would allow individuals to save pre-tax dollars to pay for medical expenses.
"I'm going to continue to talk about an optimistic agenda that will keep folks we've got [who have] a responsibility to lead. We've got a responsibility to lead to promote freedom and a responsibility to continue to put policies in place that will let us be a leader when it comes to the economy and the world," the president said.
He is likely to defend domestic spying measures as well, "The terrorist surveillance program is necessary to protect America from attack," President Bush said at the meeting.
But polls (taken 20 January) indicate that the president will have a tough time convincing his public that he is on the ball.
Nearly six in 10 voters consider President Bush's second term as a complete failure, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. As 2006 is a congressional election year, these voters also said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes President Bush, which could spell bad news for the Republican (GOP) controlled Congress.
The president said he is looking forward to spending the year helping re-election campaigns for Republican leaders. During his State of the Union address, President Bush is planning to address and defend strong economic gains for the United States and sell the idea that November 2006's elections should be about peace and prosperity -- not looking back on mistakes.
"We've got a record, and a good one," the president said. "That's what I intend to campaign on and explain to people why I made the decisions I made, and why they're necessary to protect the American people, and why they've been necessary to keep this economy strong -- and why the policies we've got will keep this economy strong in the future."
Forty percent of voters said they plan to vote (in November) for candidates who specifically support President Bush. The president's approval rating has climbed from 37 percent to 43 percent in four months. Voters who felt that the economy is unsatisfactory stood at 62 percent, while 35 percent said the economy is strong.
Unlike earlier polls, now 54 percent call President Bush a "divider," but 41 percent say he unites people. However voters are evenly split on whether they think President Bush is honest.
Iraq continues to fade from headlines as Iran and Palestine news takes center stage, however voters say that Iraq is their No.1 concern. The death toll for military personnel in Iraq stands at 2,241, but does not include those deaths after hospitalization from war wounds. Some 17,000 injuries have been reported to date.
Furthermore, 53 percent of voters said that President Bush and his administration "deliberately" misled the public in order to invade Iraq in March 2003.
Half of the voters felt troops would not be pulled from Iraq for at least another year.
President Bush's State of the Union address may also address nuclear energy as a way in which to reduce oil dependency.
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