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THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. And tonight, I have a high privilege and distinct honor
of my own -- as the first President to begin the State of the Union message with these
words: Madam Speaker. (Applause.)
In his day, the late Congressman Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr. from Baltimore, Maryland, saw Presidents
Roosevelt and Truman at this rostrum. But nothing could compare with the sight of his
only daughter, Nancy, presiding tonight as Speaker of the House of Representatives. (Applause.)
Congratulations, Madam Speaker. (Applause.)
Two members of the House and Senate are not with us tonight, and we pray for the recovery
and speedy return of Senator Tim Johnson and Congressman Charlie Norwood. (Applause.)
Madam Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow
The rite of custom brings us together at a defining hour -- when decisions are hard and
courage is needed. We enter the year 2007 with large endeavors underway, and others
that are ours to begin. In all of this, much is asked of us. We must have the will to face
difficult challenges and determined enemies -- and the wisdom to face them together.
Some in this chamber are new to the House and the Senate -- and I congratulate the Democrat
majority. (Applause.) Congress has changed, but not our responsibilities. Each of us is
guided by our own convictions -- and to these we must stay faithful. Yet we're all held
to the same standards, and called to serve the same good purposes: To extend this nation's
prosperity; to spend the people's money wisely; to solve problems, not leave them to future
generations; to guard America against all evil; and to keep faith with those we have
sent forth to defend us. (Applause.)
We're not the first to come here with a government divided and uncertainty in the air. Like many
before us, we can work through our differences, and achieve big things for the American people.
Our citizens don't much care which side of the aisle we sit on -- as long as we're willing
to cross that aisle when there is work to be done. (Applause.) Our job is to make life
better for our fellow Americans, and to help them to build a future of hope and opportunity
-- and this is the business before us tonight.
A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy -- and that is what we have.
We're now in the 41st month of uninterrupted job growth, in a recovery that has created
7.2 million new jobs -- so far. Unemployment is low, inflation is low, and wages are rising.
This economy is on the move, and our job is to keep it that way, not with more government,
but with more enterprise. (Applause.)
Next week, I'll deliver a full report on the state of our economy. Tonight, I want to discuss
three economic reforms that deserve to be priorities for this Congress.
First, we must balance the federal budget. (Applause.) We can do so without raising taxes.
(Applause.) What we need to do is impose spending discipline in Washington, D.C. We set a goal
of cutting the deficit in half by 2009, and met that goal three years ahead of schedule.
(Applause.) Now let us take the next step. In the coming weeks, I will submit a budget
that eliminates the federal deficit within the next five years. (Applause.) I ask you
to make the same commitment. Together, we can restrain the spending appetite of the
federal government, and we can balance the federal budget. (Applause.)
Next, there is the matter of earmarks. These special interest items are often slipped into
bills at the last hour -- when not even C-SPAN is watching. (Laughter.) In 2005 alone, the
number of earmarks grew to over 13,000 and totaled nearly $18 billion. Even worse, over
90 percent of earmarks never make it to the floor of the House and Senate -- they are
dropped into committee reports that are not even part of the bill that arrives on my desk.
You didn't vote them into law. I didn't sign them into law. Yet, they're treated as if
they have the force of law. The time has come to end this practice. So let us work together
to reform the budget process, expose every earmark to the light of day and to a vote
in Congress, and cut the number and cost of earmarks at least in half by the end of this
And, finally, to keep this economy strong we must take on the challenge of entitlements.
Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are commitments of conscience, and so it is
our duty to keep them permanently sound. Yet, we're failing in that duty. And this failure
will one day leave our children with three bad options: huge tax increases, huge deficits,
or huge and immediate cuts in benefits. Everyone in this chamber knows this to be true -- yet
somehow we have not found it in ourselves to act. So let us work together and do it
now. With enough good sense and goodwill, you and I can fix Medicare and Medicaid -- and
save Social Security. (Applause.)
Spreading opportunity and hope in America also requires public schools that give children
the knowledge and character they need in life. Five years ago, we rose above partisan differences
to pass the No Child Left Behind Act, preserving local control, raising standards, and holding
those schools accountable for results. And because we acted, students are performing
better in reading and math, and minority students are closing the achievement gap.
Now the task is to build on the success, without watering down standards, without taking control
from local communities, and without backsliding and calling it reform. We can lift student
achievement even higher by giving local leaders flexibility to turn around failing schools,
and by giving families with children stuck in failing schools the right to choose someplace
better. (Applause.) We must increase funds for students who struggle -- and make sure
these children get the special help they need. (Applause.) And we can make sure our children
are prepared for the jobs of the future and our country is more competitive by strengthening
math and science skills. The No Child Left Behind Act has worked for America's children
-- and I ask Congress to reauthorize this good law. (Applause.)
A future of hope and opportunity requires that all our citizens have affordable and
available health care. (Applause.) When it comes to health care, government has an obligation
to care for the elderly, the disabled, and poor children. And we will meet those responsibilities.
For all other Americans, private health insurance is the best way to meet their needs. (Applause.)
But many Americans cannot afford a health insurance policy.
And so tonight, I propose two new initiatives to help more Americans afford their own insurance.
First, I propose a standard tax deduction for health insurance that will be like the
standard tax deduction for dependents. Families with health insurance will pay no income on
payroll tax -- or payroll taxes on $15,000 of their income. Single Americans with health
insurance will pay no income or payroll taxes on $7,500 of their income. With this reform,
more than 100 million men, women, and children who are now covered by employer-provided insurance
will benefit from lower tax bills. At the same time, this reform will level the playing
field for those who do not get health insurance through their job. For Americans who now purchase
health insurance on their own, this proposal would mean a substantial tax savings -- $4,500
for a family of four making $60,000 a year. And for the millions of other Americans who
have no health insurance at all, this deduction would help put a basic private health insurance
plan within their reach. Changing the tax code is a vital and necessary step to making
health care affordable for more Americans. (Applause.)
My second proposal is to help the states that are coming up with innovative ways to cover
the uninsured. States that make basic private health insurance available to all their citizens
should receive federal funds to help them provide this coverage to the poor and the
sick. I have asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services to work with Congress to
take existing federal funds and use them to create "Affordable Choices" grants. These
grants would give our nation's governors more money and more flexibility to get private
health insurance to those most in need.
There are many other ways that Congress can help. We need to expand Health Savings Accounts.
(Applause.) We need to help small businesses through Association Health Plans. (Applause.)
We need to reduce costs and medical errors with better information technology. (Applause.)
We will encourage price transparency. And to protect good doctors from junk lawsuits,
we passing medical liability reform. (Applause.) In all we do, we must remember that the best
health care decisions are made not by government and insurance companies, but by patients and
their doctors. (Applause.)
Extending hope and opportunity in our country requires an immigration system worthy of America
-- with laws that are fair and borders that are secure. When laws and borders are routinely
violated, this harms the interests of our country. To secure our border, we're doubling
the size of the Border Patrol, and funding new infrastructure and technology.
Yet even with all these steps, we cannot fully secure the border unless we take pressure
off the border -- and that requires a temporary worker program. We should establish a legal
and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis.
As a result, they won't have to try to sneak in, and that will leave Border Agents free
to chase down drug smugglers and criminals and terrorists. (Applause.) We'll enforce
our immigration laws at the work site and give employers the tools to verify the legal
status of their workers, so there's no excuse left for violating the law. (Applause.)
We need to uphold the great tradition of the melting pot that welcomes and assimilates
new arrivals. (Applause.) We need to resolve the status of the illegal immigrants who are
already in our country without animosity and without amnesty. (Applause.) Convictions run
deep in this Capitol when it comes to immigration. Let us have a serious, civil, and conclusive
debate, so that you can pass, and I can sign, comprehensive immigration reform into law.
Extending hope and opportunity depends on a stable supply of energy that keeps America's
economy running and America's environment clean. For too long our nation has been dependent
on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and
to terrorists -- who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments, and raise the price of oil,
and do great harm to our economy.
It's in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply -- the way forward is through
technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power, by even
greater use of clean coal technology, solar and wind energy, and clean, safe nuclear power.
(Applause.) We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles,
and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. (Applause.) We must continue
investing in new methods of producing ethanol -- (applause) -- using everything from wood
chips to grasses, to agricultural wastes.
We made a lot of progress, thanks to good policies here in Washington and the strong
response of the market. And now even more dramatic advances are within reach. Tonight,
I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we've done
and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years. (Applause.)
When we do that we will have cut our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters
of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.
To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory
fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017
-- and that is nearly five times the current target. (Applause.) At the same time, we need
to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks -- and
conserve up to 8.5 billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017.
Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but
it's not going to eliminate it. And so as we continue to diversify our fuel supply,
we must step up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways. (Applause.)
And to further protect America against severe disruptions to our oil supply, I ask Congress
to double the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. (Applause.)
America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less
dependent on oil. And these technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment,
and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change. (Applause.)
A future of hope and opportunity requires a fair, impartial system of justice. The lives
of our citizens across our nation are affected by the outcome of cases pending in our federal
courts. We have a shared obligation to ensure that the federal courts have enough judges
to hear those cases and deliver timely rulings. As President, I have a duty to nominate qualified
men and women to vacancies on the federal bench. And the United States Senate has a
duty, as well, to give those nominees a fair hearing, and a prompt up-or-down vote on the
Senate floor. (Applause.)
For all of us in this room, there is no higher responsibility than to protect the people
of this country from danger. Five years have come and gone since we saw the scenes and
felt the sorrow that the terrorists can cause. We've had time to take stock of our situation.
We've added many critical protections to guard the homeland. We know with certainty that
the horrors of that September morning were just a glimpse of what the terrorists intend
for us -- unless we stop them.
With the distance of time, we find ourselves debating the causes of conflict and the course
we have followed. Such debates are essential when a great democracy faces great questions.
Yet one question has surely been settled: that to win the war on terror we must take
the fight to the enemy. (Applause.)
From the start, America and our allies have protected our people by staying on the offense.
The enemy knows that the days of comfortable sanctuary, easy movement, steady financing,
and free flowing communications are long over. For the terrorists, life since 9/11 has never
been the same.
Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen. We cannot
know the full extent of the attacks that we and our allies have prevented, but here is
some of what we do know: We stopped an al Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into
the tallest building on the West Coast. We broke up a Southeast Asian terror cell grooming
operatives for attacks inside the United States. We uncovered an al Qaeda cell developing anthrax
to be used in attacks against America. And just last August, British authorities uncovered
a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean. For each
life saved, we owe a debt of gratitude to the brave public servants who devote their
lives to finding the terrorists and stopping them. (Applause.)
Every success against the terrorists is a reminder of the shoreless ambitions of this
enemy. The evil that inspired and rejoiced in 9/11 is still at work in the world. And
so long as that's the case, America is still a nation at war.
In the mind of the terrorist, this war began well before September the 11th, and will not
end until their radical vision is fulfilled. And these past five years have given us a
much clearer view of the nature of this enemy. Al Qaeda and its followers are Sunni extremists,
possessed by hatred and commanded by a harsh and narrow ideology. Take almost any principle
of civilization, and their goal is the opposite. They preach with threats, instruct with bullets
and bombs, and promise paradise for the *** of the innocent.
Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions. They want to overthrow moderate
governments, and establish safe havens from which to plan and carry out new attacks on
our country. By killing and terrorizing Americans, they want to force our country to retreat
from the world and abandon the cause of liberty. They would then be free to impose their will
and spread their totalitarian ideology. Listen to this warning from the late terrorist Zarqawi:
"We will sacrifice our blood and bodies to put an end to your dreams, and what is coming
is even worse." Osama bin Laden declared: "Death is better than living on this Earth
with the unbelievers among us."
These men are not given to idle words, and they are just one camp in the Islamist radical
movement. In recent times, it has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from
Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate
the Middle East. Many are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding
and arming terrorists like Hezbollah -- a group second only to al Qaeda in the American
lives it has taken.
The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat. Whatever
slogans they chant, when they slaughter the innocent they have the same wicked purposes.
They want to kill Americans, kill democracy in the Middle East, and gain the weapons to
kill on an even more horrific scale.
In the sixth year since our nation was attacked, I wish I could report to you that the dangers
had ended. They have not. And so it remains the policy of this government to use every
lawful and proper tool of intelligence, diplomacy, law enforcement, and military action to do
our duty, to find these enemies, and to protect the American people. (Applause.)
This war is more than a clash of arms -- it is a decisive ideological struggle, and the
security of our nation is in the balance. To prevail, we must remove the conditions
that inspire blind hatred, and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and to come and kill
us. What every terrorist fears most is human freedom
-- societies where men and women make their own choices, answer to their own conscience,
and live by their hopes instead of their resentments. Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant
ideologies -- and most will choose a better way when they're given a chance. So we advance
our own security interests by helping moderates and reformers and brave voices for democracy.
The great question of our day is whether America will help men and women in the Middle East
to build free societies and share in the rights of all humanity. And I say, for the sake of
our own security, we must. (Applause.)
In the last two years, we've seen the desire for liberty in the broader Middle East -- and
we have been sobered by the enemy's fierce reaction. In 2005, the world watched as the
citizens of Lebanon raised the banner of the Cedar Revolution, they drove out the Syrian
occupiers and chose new leaders in free elections. In 2005, the people of Afghanistan defied
the terrorists and elected a democratic legislature. And in 2005, the Iraqi people held three national
elections, choosing a transitional government, adopting the most progressive, democratic
constitution in the Arab world, and then electing a government under that constitution. Despite
endless threats from the killers in their midst, nearly 12 million Iraqi citizens came
out to vote in a show of hope and solidarity that we should never forget. (Applause.)
A thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics, and in 2006 they struck
back. In Lebanon, assassins took the life of Pierre Gemayel, a prominent participant
in the Cedar Revolution. Hezbollah terrorists, with support from Syria and Iran, sowed conflict
in the region and are seeking to undermine Lebanon's legitimately elected government.
In Afghanistan, Taliban and al Qaeda fighters tried to regain power by regrouping and engaging
Afghan and NATO forces. In Iraq, al Qaeda and other Sunni extremists blew up one of
the most sacred places in Shia Islam -- the Golden Mosque of Samarra. This atrocity, directed
at a Muslim house of prayer, was designed to provoke retaliation from Iraqi Shia -- and
it succeeded. Radical Shia elements, some of whom receive support from Iran, formed
death squads. The result was a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal that continues
to this day.
This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we're in. Every one of
us wishes this war were over and won. Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises
unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk. (Applause.) Ladies and gentlemen:
On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle.
Let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory. (Applause.)
We're carrying out a new strategy in Iraq -- a plan that demands more from Iraq's elected
government, and gives our forces in Iraq the reinforcements they need to complete their
mission. Our goal is a democratic Iraq that upholds the rule of law, respects the rights
of its people, provides them security, and is an ally in the war on terror.
In order to make progress toward this goal, the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian
violence in its capital. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this on their own. So
we're deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to
Iraq. The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they will help Iraqi forces to clear
and secure neighborhoods, and serve as advisers embedded in Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis
in the lead, our forces will help secure the city by chasing down the terrorists, insurgents,
and the roaming death squads. And in Anbar Province, where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered
and local forces have begun showing a willingness to fight them, we're sending an additional
4,000 United States Marines, with orders to find the terrorists and clear them out. (Applause.)
We didn't drive al Qaeda out of their safe haven in Afghanistan only to let them set
up a new safe haven in a free Iraq.
The people of Iraq want to live in peace, and now it's time for their government to
act. Iraq's leaders know that our commitment is not open-ended. They have promised to deploy
more of their own troops to secure Baghdad -- and they must do so. They pledged that
they will confront violent radicals of any faction or political party -- and they need
to follow through, and lift needless restrictions on Iraqi and coalition forces, so these troops
can achieve their mission of bringing security to all of the people of Baghdad. Iraq's leaders
have committed themselves to a series of benchmarks -- to achieve reconciliation, to share oil
revenues among all of Iraq's citizens, to put the wealth of Iraq into the rebuilding
of Iraq, to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's civic life, to hold local elections,
and to take responsibility for security in every Iraqi province. But for all of this
to happen, Baghdad must be secure. And our plan will help the Iraqi government take back
its capital and make good on its commitments.
My fellow citizens, our military commanders and I have carefully weighed the options.
We discussed every possible approach. In the end, I chose this course of action because
it provides the best chance for success. Many in this chamber understand that America must
not fail in Iraq, because you understand that the consequences of failure would be grievous
If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun
by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed
by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A
contagion of violence could spill out across the country -- and in time, the entire region
could be drawn into the conflict.
For America, this is a nightmare scenario. For the enemy, this is the objective. Chaos
is the greatest ally -- their greatest ally in this struggle. And out of chaos in Iraq
would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens, new recruits, new resources,
and an even greater determination to harm America. To allow this to happen would be
to ignore the lessons of September the 11th and invite tragedy. Ladies and gentlemen,
nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in
the Middle East, to succeed in Iraq and to spare the American people from this danger.
This is where matters stand tonight, in the here and now. I have spoken with many of you
in person. I respect you and the arguments you've made. We went into this largely united,
in our assumptions and in our convictions. And whatever you voted for, you did not vote
for failure. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, and I ask you to give it
a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field, and those on their
The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you
and I have turned our duties over to others. And that's why it's important to work together
so our nation can see this great effort through. Both parties and both branches should work
in close consultation. It's why I propose to establish a special advisory council on
the war on terror, made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties. We will share
ideas for how to position America to meet every challenge that confronts us. We'll show
our enemies abroad that we are united in the goal of victory.
And one of the first steps we can take together is to add to the ranks of our military so
that the American Armed Forces are ready for all the challenges ahead. (Applause.) Tonight
I ask the Congress to authorize an increase in the size of our active Army and Marine
Corps by 92,000 in the next five years. (Applause.) A second task we can take on together is to
design and establish a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps. Such a corps would function
much like our military reserve. It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces by allowing
us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs
them. It would give people across America who do not wear the uniform a chance to serve
in the defining struggle of our time.
Americans can have confidence in the outcome of this struggle because we're not in this
struggle alone. We have a diplomatic strategy that is rallying the world to join in the
fight against extremism. In Iraq, multinational forces are operating under a mandate from
the United Nations. We're working with Jordan and Saudi Arabia and Egypt and the Gulf States
to increase support for Iraq's government.
The United Nations has imposed sanctions on Iran, and made it clear that the world will
not allow the regime in Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons. (Applause.) With the other
members of the Quartet -- the U.N., the European Union, and Russia -- we're pursuing diplomacy
to help bring peace to the Holy Land, and pursuing the establishment of a democratic
Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security. (Applause.)
In Afghanistan, NATO has taken the lead in turning back the Taliban and al Qaeda offensive
-- the first time the Alliance has deployed forces outside the North Atlantic area. Together
with our partners in China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, we're pursuing intensive
diplomacy to achieve a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons. (Applause.)
We will continue to speak out for the cause of freedom in places like Cuba, Belarus, and
Burma -- and continue to awaken the conscience of the world to save the people of Darfur.
American foreign policy is more than a matter of war and diplomacy. Our work in the world
is also based on a timeless truth: To whom much is given, much is required. We hear the
call to take on the challenges of hunger and poverty and disease -- and that is precisely
what America is doing. We must continue to fight ***/AIDS, especially on the continent
of Africa. (Applause.) Because you funded our Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the number
of people receiving life-saving drugs has grown from 50,000 to more than 800,000 in
three short years. I ask you to continue funding our efforts to fight ***/AIDS. I ask you to
provide $1.2 billion over five years so we can combat malaria in 15 African countries.
I ask that you fund the Millennium Challenge Account, so that American aid reaches the
people who need it, in nations where democracy is on the rise and corruption is in retreat.
And let us continue to support the expanded trade and debt relief that are the best hope
for lifting lives and eliminating poverty. (Applause.)
When America serves others in this way, we show the strength and generosity of our country.
These deeds reflect the character of our people. The greatest strength we have is the heroic
kindness, courage, and self-sacrifice of the American people. You see this spirit often
if you know where to look -- and tonight we need only look above to the gallery.
Dikembe Mutombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown
University on a scholarship to study medicine -- but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe
and had a different idea. (Laughter.) Dikembe became a star in the NBA, and a citizen of
the United States. But he never forgot the land of his birth, or the duty to share his
blessings with others. He built a brand new hospital in his old hometown. A friend has
said of this good-hearted man: "Mutombo believes that God has given him this opportunity to
do great things." And we are proud to call this son of the Congo a citizen of the United
States of America. (Applause.)
After her daughter was born, Julie Aigner-Clark searched for ways to share her love of music
and art with her child. So she borrowed some equipment, and began filming children's videos
in her basement. The Baby Einstein Company was born, and in just five years her business
grew to more than $20 million in sales. In November 2001, Julie sold Baby Einstein to
the Walt Disney Company, and with her help Baby Einstein has grown into a $200 million
business. Julie represents the great enterprising spirit of America. And she is using her success
to help others -- producing child safety videos with John Walsh of the National Center for
Missing and Exploited Children. Julie says of her new project: "I believe it's the most
important thing that I have ever done. I believe that children have the right to live in a
world that is safe." And so tonight, we are pleased to welcome this talented business
entrepreneur and generous social entrepreneur -- Julie Aigner-Clark. (Applause.)
Three weeks ago, Wesley Autrey was waiting at a Harlem subway station with his two little
girls, when he saw a man fall into the path of a train. With seconds to act, Wesley jumped
onto the tracks, pulled the man into the space between the rails, and held him as the train
passed right above their heads. He insists he's not a hero. He says: "We got guys and
girls overseas dying for us to have our freedoms. We have got to show each other some love."
There is something wonderful about a country that produces a brave and humble man like
Wesley Autrey. (Applause.)
Tommy Rieman was a teenager pumping gas in Independence, Kentucky, when he enlisted in
the United States Army. In December 2003, he was on a reconnaissance mission in Iraq
when his team came under heavy enemy fire. From his Humvee, Sergeant Rieman returned
fire; he used his body as a shield to protect his gunner. He was shot in the chest and arm,
and received shrapnel wounds to his legs -- yet he refused medical attention, and stayed in
the fight. He helped to repel a second attack, firing grenades at the enemy's position. For
his exceptional courage, Sergeant Rieman was awarded the Silver Star. And like so many
other Americans who have volunteered to defend us, he has earned the respect and the gratitude
of our entire country. (Applause.)
In such courage and compassion, ladies and gentlemen, we see the spirit and character
of America -- and these qualities are not in short supply. This is a decent and honorable
country -- and resilient, too. We've been through a lot together. We've met challenges
and faced dangers, and we know that more lie ahead. Yet we can go forward with confidence
-- because the State of our Union is strong, our cause in the world is right, and tonight
that cause goes on. God bless. (Applause.)
See you next year. Thank you for your prayers.