Upbeat Bush Vows To Use Political Capital On Social Security, Tax Reform
President Bush yesterday faced the White House press corps in what at least one observer called "his best press conference. . .ever." Bush, according to the New York Times, was "relaxed, almost jovial, as he needled the press corps and then reminded his viewers more than once that in his mind 'results really do matter' and that he views the 51 percent majority he won Tuesday as a license to legislate." The President covered a wide variety of topics, including Social Security, Iraq, and the role of faith in government, and he pledge to use his "political capital" to accomplish his goals. However, the President never explicitly claimed to have a "mandate," and continued to reach out to Democrats.
ABC World News Tonight reported Bush "feels people have embraced his point of view and he will tell the Congress as much." ABC added Bush "says he believes he has been given a mandate to act," and quoted Bush saying: "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style." ABC added, "What Mr. Bush will spend it on is clear. The big item on the domestic agenda," Social Security. The CBS Evening News reported Bush "did not use the word 'mandate,' but. . .the President made it clear that as he sees it, he has one." CBS added Bush will "bet some of his political capital on plans to reform the tax system and create private accounts for Social Security." NBC Nightly News reported Bush's "second-term domestic agenda is expansive, extending education reform by imposing new accountability standards on high schools, making permanent the tax cuts passed during his first term and a broader effort to revamp the tax code. . .confronting the glut of what Mr. Bush calls junk personal injury lawsuits, and social security reform which would let younger workers create private savings accounts." CNN's Inside Politics reported that Bush "made crystal clear that he believes he has a mandate and that he will go ahead with a domestic legislative agenda that will immediately test that bipartisan spirit the president says he certainly hopes for." In a front-page story, the Washington Post reports, "In both words and tone, Bush conveyed exceptional self-assurance as he jauntily parried with reporters and served notice that he expects Congress to move with dispatch on his agenda." The Los Angeles Times reports Bush "gave a bow toward bipartisanship, but said his election victory had given him political muscle that he intended to exercise in a second term." Bloomberg reports Bush, "re-elected by the narrowest popular-vote margin for an incumbent since Woodrow Wilson in 1916, may pursue an agenda worthy of a landslide winner." The Los Angeles Times reports, "Bush is staking out difficult goals for his second term," and "if he accomplishes everything he committed himself to on Thursday, he could claim a place alongside Ronald Reagan the president he cites as a model, more than his own father in reshaping government policy to conservative design."
The AP reports, "Capping medical malpractice limits. . .will be one of his first proposals because it 'had been debated and got thwarted a couple of times,' the president said."
USA Today reports that when "asked about reports of an imminent assault on Fallujah, Bush said Iraqi insurgents 'must be defeated.'"
The Wall Street Journal reports Bush's "remarks helped propel the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its biggest one-day gain in more than a year."
In a front-page story, the New York Times reports, "Bush gave no indication of how he would balance pressure from the evangelical Christians who played an important role in winning his re-election and his stated desire to reduce the nation's partisan tensions."