Obama Praises Patriots of Both Parties

Posted February 24, 2009 at 7:08pm

President Barack Obama on Tuesday night will move to revive the bipartisanship he sought to foster as he first took office, casting Republicans and Democrats alike as patriots seeking to do their best for the country. “I know that we haven’t agreed on every issue thus far, and there are surely times in the future when we will part ways,” he will say, according to excerpts released by the White House Tuesday evening. ”But I also know that every American who is sitting here tonight loves this country and wants it to succeed. That must be the starting point for every debate we have in the coming months, and where we return after those debates are done. That is the foundation on which the American people expect us to build common ground.” But Obama also includes in his remarks a searing criticism of the Bush years and initiatives backed by many of the Republicans to whom his hand is outstretched. “A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future,” Obama plans to say. “Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. … And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day.” The president will call for spending on his priorities but also detail several programs that are on the chopping block. “In this budget, we will end education programs that don’t work and end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don’t need them,” he will say. “We’ll eliminate the no-bid contracts that have wasted billions in Iraq, and reform our defense budget so that we’re not paying for Cold War-era weapons systems we don’t use. We will root out the waste, fraud and abuse in our Medicare program that doesn’t make our seniors any healthier, and we will restore a sense of fairness and balance to our tax code by finally ending the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas.”