Reaction from Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, others

The Associated Press
“The State of the Union is a speech that’s a shot heard around the world, but this one more so.” —Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.
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“This is a man who has got his finger on the pulse of the concerns of Americans, both foreign and domestic. He understands their insecurity, both with this economy and the global picture, both Iraq and terrorism. And he has a well thought-out and compassionate plan to solve both problems. — Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.
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“Saddam Hussein needs to be stopped. I’m happy that we are going to take a stand and give him a time limit. … I didn’t realize that he (Saddam Hussein) had so many biological weapons. We need to do something.” —Martha Nohe, 72, of Zelienople, about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh.
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“I was looking for the link between terrorists and Iraq, but I don’t think he did it. He didn’t offer any proof. … If he does choose to go to war without support, there will only be more enemies. — Mithran Tiruchelvam, 26, a law student at the University of Pennsylvania.
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“If Saddam is in violation of the U.N. agreement, action should be funneled through the U.N.,” Engel said. “I think there is a case for getting involved in Iraq.” — Don Engel, 24, University of Pennsylvania physics doctoral candidate.
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“The tax cut is kind of like the Philadelphia Eagles in one of the playoff games: The first half didn’t go well, but the coach decided the game plan is right. …(Bush) is convinced that somehow, tax cuts for the wealthiest are going to trickle down for everybody else. I think the country is kind of concerned now that they don’t see a change of direction in the administration, and what they hear is what the administration has said before, without taking into account that it didn’t work.” — Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa.
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“It’s great to see that the president has again budgeted funds for a prescription drug plan — and it’s an incentive for Congress to deliver these and other overdue Medicare reforms to help our seniors. If there’s one theme I hear throughout the district, it’s that prescription drug costs are too high. Congress has promised a comprehensive prescription drug benefit for years, but Americans want results, not more promises.” — Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Pa.
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“President Bush laid out a clear vision for our nation that includes a strong economic recovery plan, affordable health care for all Americans including prescription drug coverage for our nation’s seniors, responsible energy independence, and a compassionate agenda that lends a helping hand to those in need. These issues are especially important in rural Pennsylvania where we continue to face severe job losses, rising medical costs and many other challenges.” — Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa.
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“President Bush understands the task at hand, and he understands the consequences of inaction. Without a strong military and defense capability, the future of our nation is at risk. Education, healthcare, and tax cuts won’t mean much if we can’t defend against the terrorist threat that we now face.” Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.
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“President Bush’s speech tonight provided an excellent blueprint for economic growth. Obviously we in the House share President Bush’s priority of boosting the economy and creating good-paying jobs. … “It is becoming more and more evident that Saddam Hussein is not complying with the UN resolutions and that he never had any intention of abiding by them. It is time for this shell game to end. — Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.
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“President Bush made it clear that he does not choose to punt. He chooses to lead. President Bush made it clear that we must confront our challenges now. We cannot pass our problems on to future Presidents or future generations.” Rep. Don Sherwood, R-Pa
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“Tax cuts were passed by Congress 19 months ago and what have they done for our economy? Nothing. The economy continues to flounder, consumer confidence is still extremely low, the stock market demonstrates that investor confidence is still extremely low, and business bankruptcies are skyrocketing. Additional tax cuts are the wrong approach to re-starting this economy.” — Rep. John P. “Jack” Murtha, D-Pa.
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“Tonight the President did an effective job of diagnosing that our economy is ailing, but the prescription he delivered to restore it to health is bad medicine. Democrats have a plan that will create more jobs, provide an effective prescription drug benefit, and allow us to make the commitments necessary to protect our homeland. That’s the right remedy for our ailing economy.” — Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa.
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“President Bush showed us again tonight why it is he is so trusted by the American people. In his direct and plain-spoken way, he outlined the challenges facing our country and told us what he plans to do about them. He has a united Congress behind him, and we’re ready to face these challenges together.” — Rep. Joseph Pitts, R-Pa.
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“The priorities, the challenges that the president addressed are very much in line with the issues I hear on a regular basis from my constituents — the economy, prescription drugs costs, the safety and security of our citizens. One of the things I’ve come to appreciate and respect about President Bush’s approach is not trying to sugar-coat the challenges that face the nation, but just have a very frank discusison with our citizens about what lies ahead.” —Rep. Todd Platts, R-Pa.
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“President Bush tonight made clear that resotring the health of the U.S. economy, improving our health care system and protecting the peace and security of our country are the top priorities for the administration.” — Rep. Phil English, R-Pa.
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“He was very clear, he was very specific, on both what we need to do domestically and most importantly, what we need to do in the coming weeks and months with the Iraqi threat. He spelled out quite specifically what the threat is, and what we need to do to deal with it.” — Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa.
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“It was a bold, broad and brilliant speech. The president made a compelling case to disarm Saddam Hussein, and showed great resolve with regard to national security, while at the same time, launching some new inititives of great compassion — a remarkable effort to provide relief to AIDS victims in Africa, a program to mentor the children of prisoners, and $600 million to increase drug treatment for the addicted.” — Rep. Jim Greenwood, R-Pa.
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“He did end up spending as much time on our role in the world and the emergence of this very serious threat as other topics, and understandably so. Decisions of war and peace are the most important decisions a president can make, and a nation can undertake. So I thought it was appropriate.” — Rep. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
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“I was very pleased of the president’s commitment to move forward on (medical malpractice). The lack of progress on this has caused many physicians to close their practice, or to cut back on seeing patients. That is harmful to patients, and that hurts their health, and I consider this to be an issue of utmost urgency. And we need the president’s commitment make this happen.” — Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa.