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State of the Union Liveblog

Washington Independent staff and friends are gathering around CSPAN’s online stream in preparation for the State of the Union Address. Our Hill reporter Mike Lillis just told me the White House has not released the transcript for Bush’s speech, but you can check out the 36-page outline here. (LM)

More to come.

9:07: Is that Bernard Kerik or Nouri al-Maliki? (SA)

9:09: Bad joke #1, about legacy: 45 seconds in. (SA)

9:11: One of our computers, where we’re streaming C-SPAN, is frozen on a screencap of Bush. Does that mean I have to take continuous drink? (SA)

9:12: Bush calls his $600 check-plan a "robust" solution to our economic woes. (LM)

9:14: He’s talking about the economy now and how we’re all worried at our kitchen tables. Now he’s pushing Congress to give out those incentive checks, sort of like giving candy to toddlers. (MK)

9:12: "Jobs are now growing at a slower pace." Really? (SA)

9:15: I thought shady brokers and lack of regulation played a hand in the subprime fallout — nope, taxes. (LM)

9:17: Bush just dropped his "no more earmarks" card. (LM)

9:17: Earmarks under a Democratic Congress? No way, Jose! About those previous six, we’ll call it even. (SA)

9:18: Anti-earmark executive order threat. The bombs leave the silos in 5 minutes! (SA)

9:18: First time he mentions foreclosure! He wants to reform Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and so on. This is supposed to help more people keep their homes. Somehow, I don’t think someone with a subprime loan should wait by the phone…(MK)

9:19: The Washington Independent is looking for smart contributors who know about health care. (LM)

9:21: No Child Left Behind is "succeeding" because it is a "good law" (LM)

9:22: God, his speeches suck without Michael Gerson. (SA)

9:24: Liberate poor children trapped in failing schools! They will greet us with sweets and flowers! (SA)

9:25: Bush: I’m against duty-free. You pay tax on those airport cigarettes, Byung-Hun!

9:26: First reference to terror is about… Columbia. This man is off his game.

9:27: I’m pretty sure earlier this month Congress cut billions in federal funding to high-tech physiciss research. I’ll report back. (LM)

9:28: Ah, so he’s not serious about carbon emissions at all. Did I fool myself? (SA)

9:29: How can you get a patent on human life? (LM)

9:30: Bush just took a detour into promoting private health-care plans, "We must trust patients and doctors to make better decisions." It was interesting as a half-hearted effort to remind people that despite the Democratic Presidential debate talk of national health care, it is a foreign concept to Republicans. Indeed, For Bush, the most pressing health care industry problem sounds like lawsuits against doctors and HMO’s. (MB)

9:30: Hey, dude, it’s 9:30. Say SOMETHING about the wars already. You know, your legacy?

9:32: Volunteered in record numbers? Is that why your 2002 volunteerism initiative failed?

9:33: A Katrina reference! That happened? Bush must flash back to that moment — when his presidency collapsed once and for all — like if he was survived a Vietnam firefight. Which he did, I guess, by not going to Vietnam.

9:33 Fans of faith-based initiatives were looking forward to what Bush had to say about the program tonight, after failing to mention it last year. They were hoping for a little more than this: a plea to permanently extend Charitable Choice, which makes it easier for faith-based groups to compete for social service grants. One advantage: it’s free. (HY)

9:34: Bush crows about charitable foundations, but actually the House Oversight committee has been investigating veterans charities and numerous other foundations for fraud. The investigation could result in these foundations having to itemize exactly how they’re spending their money on IRS filings. (MB)

9:35: Bush just made a general call to find a balanced way to deal with immigrants here without documents. Any new ideas? No. (LR)

9:36: There we go. The Bush doctrine survives beyond the grave. "We trust people when given a chance will choose a path of freedom and peace." Yeah, what happened with that? (SA)

9:37: "There is one thing we and our enemies agree on." Torture? (SA)

9:38: Bush’s examples of stirring liberty start with Georgia and Ukraine. The only stirring example of liberty mentioned in regard to Iraq is ink-stained fingers…have their been any other stirring examples of liberty in Iraq? (MB)

9:41: Have you notice that Bush only ever talks about Afghanistan at State of the Union addresses? (SA)

9:42: In Iraq, the surge solved everything. The end. (SA)

9:42: 30 minutes into the speech, and I’m wondering about one thing: did Condi and Spellings conspire to wear white? (HY)

9:43: Hey, he acknowledged that the Anbar Awakening happened before the surge! Ah, 80,000 Iraqis fighting the terrorists in the CLCs, the men we’ve armed and funded like we did the Afghan mujahideen in the 80s. Don’t worry, this time it’ll all turn out differently. (SA)

9:43: Attacks in Iraq are down! Except now that they’re climbing back up. (SA)

9:44: Did someone just scream ‘you rock!!’, at the 2008 State of the Union? (LM)

9:44: Bush dares to mention Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq, which veers close to the political reconciliation side of the surge. He wisely doesn’t elaborate as it’s not clear if these team have made any difference in providing electricity, water and safe roads to the neighborhoods the U.S. military has cleared. The teams are so far best known for their lack of Arab speakers. (MB)

9:46: Al-Qaeda is on the run in Iraq, like to Mosul, where they murdered five brave Americans today. Is it or isn’t it progress that he no longer talks about victory, but about lowered violence? I’ll bet that’s what those five irreplaceable Americans wanted to die for. (SA)

9:46: The goal for 2008: to get U.S. troops back into a supporting role in Iraq. Remember when that was the goal in 2004 to 2006?

9:47: There is a standing ovation when Bush announces 20,000 troops are coming home. There is a standing ovation when Bush gives Army commanders a "solemn pledge" that he’ll give them what they need in Iraq. What if they say it turns out they need 160,000 troops to keep fatalities down? (MB)

9:49: "Sunni, Shia and Kurds are beginning to come together." Lie. The parliament passed "a de-Baathification law." Yeah, and the Sunnis hate it. "Reconciliation is taking place." Lie.

9:51: Failure in Iraq will "embolden the extremists." No, that wasn’t an apology. And how much bolder can they get? They’re extremists! (SA)

9:52: It looks like Speaker Pelosi is too engrossed in a book (or the new budget) to give her eyes and ears to the SOTU. (MB)

9:52: I’m just the economics gal here, but when he starts mentioning Iran, am I supposed to get nervous? (MK)

9:54: Wasn’t that airplane in LA thing crap? (LM)

9:55: OK, now he’s lying about thwarted terrorist attacks. (SA)

9:56: Warrantless domestic surveillance! Forever! It turns out the all-seeing eye of the powerful might be another thing we "share with our enemies." (SA)

9:56: Bush is above giving rational why telecoms deserve "liability protection." You need more a specific reason, I think, why Sprint should not be sued beyond protecting against the dangers of the new century. (MB)

9:57: We aren’t doing anything in Sudan, though…(LM)

9:57: "America opposes genocide in Sudan." So there. Genocide stopped. Over 400,000 Darfuris suddenly rise from the dead. (SA)

9:57: I don’t think America is leading the fight against global poverty and hunger and disease. That would be Bill Gates. (MK)

10:00: New hiring preferences for military spouses?? (HY)

10:02: As it turns out our "liveblog" might be a bit delayed. We’re watching a stream on CSPAN. (LM)

10:02: "Our greatness lies not in our government." Certainly not now. (SA)

10:03: Is that it? (LM)

10:03: That’s it? Where are the ordinary heroes in the bleachers the presidents always point to? I really miss that. (MK)

10:15: Gripping post-debate analysis: Where are the flights of fancy? Exploring Mars by 2016? Bush didn’t seem to be having fun. The only pet issue discussed seemed to be a fleeting reference to tort reform. (MB)

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