Browse Topics



The State of the Union Address
Bush Stands Firm on Iraq, Underlines Domestic Goals

more NPR coverage Listen to NPR coverage of President Bush's speech.

Bush addresses Congress

President Bush delivers the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress, Jan. 28, 2003.
Photo: Copyright 2003
Reuters Limited

Jan. 28, 2003 -- War with Iraq, an ambitious agenda for economic and social ills on the domestic front, and a continued effort to stamp out terrorism. Those were the keynotes of President Bush's second State of the Union address.

Mr. Bush hit hard at Saddam Hussein, saying: "The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary, he is deceiving."

He said he would ask the U.N. Security Council to convene Feb. 5 to "consider the facts of Iraq's ongoing defiance of the world." He said he would send U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to make a firm case that Iraq must be dealt with promptly.

The president made it plain that while he welcomes assistance from American allies -- and insisted many nations will ultimately support his goals in Iraq -- he will not rely on that help.

"The course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others," he said, and warned U.S. forces of "crucial hours ahead."

The president opened with a focus on issues closer to home. He set out four chief domestic goals for Congress: passage of his $674 billion plan to revive the economy; securing "high quality, affordable health care for all Americans," including medical liability reform; endorsement of an energy plan that includes funding for hydrogen-powered automobiles; and approval of social programs, including his faith-based initiatives, that he said could "transform America one heart and one soul at a time."

He spent 30 minutes -- about half the speech -- on the domestic agenda, conceding that "our economy is recovering, yet it's not growing fast enough."

He turned next to the scourge of AIDS, saying he stood ready to offer $15 billion in funding to combat the disease in Africa and the Caribbean.

"Our calling as a blessed country is to make the world better," Mr. Bush said.

He briefly revisited the memorable "axis of evil" reference from his first State of the Union address a year ago, criticizing Iran for continued human rights abuses and warning North Korea that "America and the world will not be blackmailed" by the threat of nuclear weapons.

Then came Iraq, and an emphatic denunciation of Saddam Hussein:

"He has shown utter contempt for the United Nations and the opinion of the world," Mr. Bush said.

NPR Coverage:

moreDiscussing the State of the Union
As President Bush prepares to deliver his State of the Union address, NPR's Juan Williams joins residents of a St. Louis suburb for a discussion about Iraq, the economy and other issues the president's speech is likely to cover.
Morning Edition - Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2003

moreState of the Union Preview
President Bush's State of the Union address is expected to fall just short of a call for war, and most likely include some reassurances about the economy. NPR White House Correspondent Don Gonyea previews Bush's speech.
All Things Considered - Monday, Jan. 27, 2003

moreState of the Union Address Suggestions
All Things Considered commentators offer suggestions for President Bush's State of the Union address.
All Things Considered - Monday, Jan. 27, 2003

moreWhite House Preview of the State of the Union
NPR's Juan Williams speaks with White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card about President Bush's State of the Union address.
Morning Edition - Monday, Jan. 27, 2003

moreState of the Union - Democrats
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) is the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, and believes that the president still needs to convince the American public that a war in Iraq is necessary. NPR's Steve Inskeep speaks with Levin.
All Things Considered - Sunday, Jan. 26, 2003

moreGeorges De Paris, Tailor to Presidents
President George W. Bush and tailor Georges De Paris His clothes may have been seen by more people than any other tailor on earth. And you probably don't know his name. On Tuesday, Jan. 28, you'll get a chance to see his work, when the President of the United States gives his State of the Union speech in a hand-made suit from Georges De Paris. NPR's Kitty Eisele talks with the man known as "Tailor to the Presidents."
All Things Considered - Sunday, Jan. 26, 2003

moreState of the Union Preparations
President Bush finalizes the State of the Union address he'll deliver on Tuesday, Jan. 28. NPR's Liane Hansen speaks with James Fallows, a former speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter.
Weekend Edition Sunday - Sunday, Jan. 26, 2003

moreThe Case Against Iraq
Senators from both parties are insisting on a well-reasoned argument from President Bush on the need for an attack on Iraq. NPR's David Welna reports.
Morning Edition - Thursday, Jan. 23, 2003

morePresident Bush's Approval Ratings
Public opinion polls show that President Bush's approval ratings are slipping. Several surveys show a majority of Americans disapprove of the president's handling of the economy, and support for a war in Iraq is dropping. NPR's Mara Liasson reports.
Morning Edition - Thursday, Jan. 23, 2003