The Republicans in Iowa’s Congressional delegation say President George Bush’s “State of the Union” speech last night delivered a “strong case” for action against Iraq. Republican Senator Charles Grassley says the speech is a demarcation point in foreign policy and U.S. leadership around the world. Grassley says the President showed more determination last night than he’s ever seen Bush show before about the U-S committment to eliminating threats to liberty around the world.Congressman Jim Nussle, a republican from Manchester, says the President was forceful in making his case on Iraq. Nussle says Bush surprised people by spending so much time laying out the case for action against Iraq. Nussle says Bush was making the case to a number of different audiences.Nussle says Bush laid out the case for international coalition partners, reminding them that Saddam Hussein has, for the past 12 years, refused to disarm. Congressman Tom Latham, a republican from Alexander, says Bush shared evidence which illustrates the threat Hussein poses.Latham says Bush was “direct” and “straightforward and very, very serious.” Latham says Bush told no jokes, and was “very, very serious.” Congressman Jim Leach says President George Bush had a commanding presence last night. Leach, a republican who’s now from Iowa City, says Bush was “as sober and direct as he’s ever been, — and as presidential” as he’s ever been.Leach says Bush gave a “very strong perspective” on Iraq, and Leach is confident more details will be laid out by the President and Secretary of State in the coming days. But Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a democrat, offers a different assessment of the President’s speech.Harkin says “there’s a real credibility gap that’s widening between the President’s rhetoric and reality, both here and abroad. Harkin says Bush doesn’t understand how bad the U-S economy is, and how difficult it will be if the U-S “goes it alone” against Iraq, without the support and involvement of other countries. Democrat Congressman Leonard Boswell says President Bush’s reform ideas for Medicaid won’t work in Iowa.Boswell, who’s now from Des Moines, says the President’s H-M-O-style plan won’t work here, because H-M-Os aren’t available to many elderly Iowans who live in rural areas. Boswell says the President failed to address Iowa’s number one health care issue — our lowest-in-the-nation reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals treating the elderly. Iowa’s new Republican Congressman, Steve King of Kiron, heard something surprising in the speech. King says Bush’s statement that a child born today can drive away from graduation in a hydrogen-powered automobile is akin to Kennedy saying we’d get to the moon by the end of the decade. He says that was a surprise as was the effort to committ money to fighting aids in Africa.
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