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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Bush Gives Weekly Radio Address

Aired December 29, 2001 - 10:04   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, President Bush is staying on top of developments in Afghanistan from the western White House, his ranch in Crawford, Texas. He'll talk about the nation's battles, both current and future, during his weekly radio address. CNN White House correspondent Major Garrett is in Crawford and he's going to lead us into that address.

Hi, Major.

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kyra. You know, it's one of the most -- I don't know -- this is the biggest cliche in journalism -- what a year it's been. Well, after this year, perhaps that cliche doesn't feel or sound as harkening as it otherwise might. Let's review just a bit -- a disputed election, a gloomy rain soaked inauguration when the president saw one of his top Republican Senators James Jeffords defect, switching control of the that important legislative body from Republicans to Democrats, frustrating some of his legislative agenda. The president is going to talk about that in the radio address.

Very good. He's going talk about that and other legislative agenda items in the year 2002, Kyra, but also talk at considerable length about the war on terrorism, continuing to maintain strong homeland defense and also reminding Americans that there is much work left to do in Afghanistan.

He was here at the ranch with his top military commander in Afghanistan, Tommy Franks, to get a one-on-one briefing from him yesterday, and afterwards, took many questions from reporters. He said he really doesn't care if Osama bin Laden is found dead or alive, but ultimately, justice will be brought to that terrorist leader. He said that al Qaeda remains a persistent threat to the United States and its allies. That's why the work in Afghanistan must continue.

The president's radio address to begin in a just very few moments. Here we go.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good morning, 2001 has been a year that Americans will always remember. We suffered great loss and we found a new unity. We were attacked and we responded swiftly. We have seen the strength of America and countless acts of kindness, compassion and courage.

This year ends with progress on the battlefield and accomplishment at home. The men and women of our military have successfully fought a new kind of war. They applied new tactics and new technology to route a new kind of enemy. The lessons we learn in Afghanistan will guide our military into the future and make our country stronger and more secure.

On the home front, we are strengthening our defenses against terrorist attack while upholding our constitutional liberties. Our airways are more secure and we are standing on alert.

And here in Washington, we have built a record of achievement. We set out clear priorities of tax relief and education reform and we achieved them. Strengthening a troubled economy was one of my first priorities, so we passed the biggest tax reduction in a generation. And on January 1, the next round of tax relief takes affect.

As of January 1, the marginal tax rate for moderate income taxpayers falls to 10 percent. Tax credits to encourage businesses to provide day care will expand and the adoption tax credit will increase to $10,000. Yet, we cannot stop here. I was disappointed by the failure of the Senate to act on my proposals to help laid off workers and to stimulate job creation.

I outlined these proposals in October, more than 800,000 lost jobs ago. My ideas passed the House of Representatives and according to the Council of Economic Advisers, they could save 300,000 endangered jobs. But the Senate would not schedule them for a vote. I hope that we can resolve in the New Year to put politics aside and get the job done for the American people.

Education was another top priority and we passed the boldest reform of the Federal Education Program in nearly four decades. We raised standards, put a new emphasis on reading, protected local control and made sure that our schools teach all of our children. These are real achievements and we must do more.

We must have quick action on other issues that pass the House of Representatives that languished in the Senate. I'm counting on the Senate to take up my proposals to ensure America's energy independence, to stimulate our economy and create jobs, to adopt a solid patient's bill of rights, to mobilize faith-based institutions for a new era of affected compassion, and to enhance our ability to negotiate favorable trade agreements for the United States.

We have work to do to strengthen social security and put Medicare on sound footing for the future.

Above all, this coming year will require our sustained commitment to the war against terrorism. We cannot know how long this struggle will last, but it can end only one way in victory for America and the cause of freedom.

We look back on 2001 with sadness and with pride. We must look forward with determination and with resolve. Thank you so much for listening and Happy New Year to you all.

GARRETT: War and recession are top items for the president in 2002. And of course, Kyra, the President underlining his confrontations with that new Democratic Senate over and over in that radio address, confrontations that are going to loom large in 2002, an election year. Democrats desperate to hold on control of that Senate majority, possibly win a majority in the House.

Republicans exactly the opposite, they want to win back control of the Senate for republicans and for President Bush. That will be a key underlying theme in all the domestic issues the President will wrestle with and of course, the ongoing war in Afghanistan where Democrats have been solidly with President. The key dividing line in American politics now is Democrats with the President and the war effort, against him in many respects on the domestic agenda -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, our Major Garrett following the President and fighting the winds. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

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