GW students rated President George W. Bush’s first State of the Union Address from “good” to “horrible” Tuesday night. In the 48-minute speech, the president laid out plans for the war on terrorism, improve the economy and increase nationwide community service.
About 50 students converged on the Hippodrome’s four parallel televisions to evaluate Bush’s every word.
“As we gather tonight, our nation is at war, our economy is in recession and the civilized world faces unprecedented dangers,” Bush said. “Yet the state of our union has never been stronger.”
Bush reflected on recent U.S. hardships, ridiculing the nation’s enemies.
“Terrorists who once occupied Afghanistan, now occupy cells at Guantanamo Bay,” he said, eliciting a laugh from the mostly-Democratic Hippodrome crowd.
Bush later pounded his right hand on the podium, stating, “Our war on terror is well begun, but it is only begun.”
The president challenged the nation to one of the boldest volunteer-recruiting efforts since former President John F. Kennedy created the Peace Corps in 1961; he called upon each American to
“commit at least two years, 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime, to the service of your neighbors and your nation.”
He said the new USA Freedom Corps, a $560 million initiative announced during the speech, will focus on “crisis at home, rebuilding our communities and extending American compassion throughout the world.”
Organizing retired doctors, nurses and utility workers, Bush said the USA Freedom Corps would be called upon in times of crisis for homeland security.
Law student Mark Hershfield said he would have liked to see more from the speech.
“I didn’t think it was that bad . but he didn’t focus enough on the domestic agenda,” Hershfield said.
Senior Sam Hudzik offered a stronger view on the speech.
“It was just horrible,” he said.
Junior Oren Shur said there is reasoning behind Bush’s focus.
“Because polls show that people back the war, he focused on the war,” Shur said. “He played to his approval; it’s deliberate.”
Junior John Dunn commented on administration’s impact on the country.
“I think his presidency has gone beyond everyone’s expectations, bringing everyone together and focused on the issues of the day,” Dunn said.