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SOTU: Domestic

USA Today notes that wartime presidents "have found domestic proposals difficult to deliver," as one historian said.  "Still, scoring progress on these domestic issues would bolster Bush's legacy, now defined by the war...  The White House is calculating that the president can tap Americans' desire for action on the domestic front even as the war continues to rage." 

The New York Daily News: "White House loyalists privately conceded that with the possible exception of his immigration and education proposals, Bush's legislative agenda stands little chance of being enacted by a Congress controlled by the Democrats." 

Per the White House, Bush's tour at DuPont today will focus on DuPont's research on cellulosic ethanol, which is derived from alternative feedstocks, woodchips, agricultural waste, and dedicated energy crops.  Cellulosic ethanol holds promise for long-term expansion of biofuels and is chemically identical to corn ethanol.  The tour will be led by DuPont's chairman and CEO.  Along for the ride will be Energy Secretary Sam Bodman and some members of Congress, as well as DuPont employees.

USA Today says Bush's energy plan "included some eye-popping numbers that would amount to a boon for the ethanol industry and could begin boosting the fuel economy of cars and trucks as soon as 2009." 

The Des Moines Register also says that Iowa Democrats and Republicans "agreed that the president's energy proposal highlighting the use of corn-produced ethanol is a winner for" their state. 

Another winner: CNBC's Patti Domm notes the interesting timing in Bush proposing to double the capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, giving a lift to the oil industry after a big decline. 

"The politically weakened Mr. Bush's latest energy initiative marks the start of his attempt to try to define himself as something other than a lame-duck president," says the Wall Street Journal, which also notes in another story that the plan "faces a hurdle: a volatile energy market" that has been buffeting ethanol producers. 

A Chicago Tribune news analysis says that Bush "appeared to be channeling Al Gore on energy policy" -- on the very day Gore's documentary on global warming was nominated for an Oscar.  

Bush "elevated" his immigration reform proposal to one of his four domestic priorities -- now that it has a chance to pass over hard-line GOP opposition. 

That push "will isolate many conservative Republicans who oppose his immigration and education plans, and shows the precarious balancing act Mr. Bush will have to do with his own party as he works with Democrats to try to achieve legacy accomplishments," notes the Washington Times.  In another story, the paper points out that Bush "Bush won far more applause from Democrats than from Republicans" when he spoke of the subject.