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The Bush agenda


Despite appearing to strike a more "conciliatory" tone tonight, Bush is not expected to compromise on any of this domestic or foreign policy agenda, reports the Boston Globe.  In turn, "members of both parties see the State of the Union address more as a preview of coming battles than an invitation to negotiate on important domestic issues. 

Bloomberg says Bush's health care proposal "has already divided lawmakers and interest groups along partisan lines" -- basically Democrats and unions versus Republicans and business. 

"Former President Clinton has signaled privately that his wife... will include aggressive healthcare proposals in her campaign for the White House, despite the debacle of what critics labeled 'Hillary Care' 14 years ago," The Hill reports.  "The indications are that Sen. Clinton's strategy will be to turn healthcare, a political weakness, into a strength."  Clinton "does not want her opponents to own healthcare, an area in which Democrats have traditionally enjoyed huge poll leads over Republicans." 

The Hill says "Republican immigration hard-liners are preparing to come out aggressively against a proposed guest-worker program favored by President Bush," which Bush is expected to address tonight. 

The Washington Times reports in its preview that Bush "will seek to renew his bipartisan friendship with [Sen. Ted Kennedy], who he teamed with to win overwhelming approval in Congress for the No Child Left Behind Act.  The act comes up for renewal this year, and some Republicans fear the president may cut a deal with majority Democrats, offering more money if Democrats agree to include more requirements for the high school level.  Mr. Kennedy, chairman of the Senate education panel, has said the White House failed to fight to adequately fund the massive federal program." 

The Wall Street Journal notes how the global warming debate is shifting from one based in science to one based in economics, which will factor into how Bush addresses it. 

Bush budget director Rob Portman, in a USA Today op-ed, touts Bush's success at cutting the deficit in half and says the next step is to balance the budget by 2012.  "Getting to balance requires both keeping the economy strong and keeping federal spending under control."  To the Administration, keeping the economy strong means extending the Bush tax cuts.