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Bush Describes Second Term Goals

I’m Steve Ember with In the News in VOA Special English.

President George W. Bush says the survival of liberty in America "increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands."

AUDIO: “The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.”

This was a major subject of his inaugural speech as Mister Bush began his second four years in office Thursday. The forty-third president of the United States said human freedom is the only force of history that can defeat hatred.

For half a century, he said, America defended its freedom "by standing watch on distant borders." Then, years of quiet followed what he called "the shipwreck of communism."

AUDIO: "And then there came a day of fire."

... the terrorist attacks on the United States in two thousand one.

Mister Bush said the policy of the United States is to support democratic movements in every nation and culture. The goal, he said, is "ending tyranny in our world."

He said oppression is always wrong, yet freedom must be chosen. America will not force its way of government on the unwilling, he said.

Mister Bush said tens of millions have their freedom because, in his words, "we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation." He did not speak directly about the war in Iraq. But said the sacrifice of those who died for their country will always be honored.

Snow was on the ground in Washington, temperatures were near-freezing, and security was extremely heavy. Still, hundreds of thousands gathered for the inaugural activities. The crowds included some protesters opposed to Mister Bush and the Iraq war.

The president spoke of the unity that the nation felt after the September eleventh attacks. He said he would try to heal political divisions.

He also said the United States "cannot carry the message of freedom" while there is still racism at home.

Mister Bush spoke again of his desire to build what he calls an "ownership society." He promised to widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance. More details are expected in his State of the Union speech on February second.

His second-term goals include changes in the Social Security system for retired workers, and also in tax laws and the civil legal system. There are also record trade deficits and the future in Iraq to deal with.

Mister Bush defeated John Kerry with fifty-one percent of the popular vote in November. He led Republicans to bigger majorities over Democrats in Congress. Yet his approval rating is low compared to other recent presidents at the start of a second term. His rating averaged around fifty percent in several recent public opinion studies.

Political scientists note that American presidents can find it more difficult to get congressional support in their second, and final, term. There have also been some second-term political crises. The last president re-elected, Bill Clinton, was charged in Congress with lying about his relationship with a White House worker. The Senate found him not guilty.

In the News in VOA Special English was written by Jerilyn Watson. I’m Steve Ember.