Early reaction among Jewish officeholders to President George
W. Bush's second Inaugural Speech today (Jan. 20) was mixed. U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn) said the day's activitied reminded him "of a verse from the book of Nehemiah: 'And they said, 'Let us rise up and build,’ so they strengthened their hands for his good work.' With the campaign now behind us, I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to embark on an aggressive agenda of reform.
"While we must continue to wage an unwavering war on terrorism, we also must tend to the needs here at home," Coleman continued. "There is much work to be done, some heavy legislative lifting to do. In his speech today, the President promised to do his part, and we in Congress must commit to doing ours as well."
Sen. Frank Lautenberg
(D-N.J.) said he saluted "President Bush's plan for freedom around the world and hope that America can lead the way to democracy. But we need to work to build freedom in our country -- the freedom to learn so that our children get a quality education, the freedom to access prescription drugs to preserve our health, and the freedom to know that our Social Security."
Wexler (D-Fla.) issued a critique of Bush's first term on the occasion
of the president's second inauguration: "Under
George Bush’s watch, America’s standing in the world has never been lower
and this President still stubbornly refuses to accept responsibility for his
Administration’s failures in Iraq that have led to the death of over 1,300
American soldiers, a growing reconstruction cost of hundreds of billions of
dollars and new a new breeding ground for Al Qaeda and international
terrorists," Wexler said. "Despite these blatant errors, this
President continues to tout his first term as a success, which I not only find
shameful, but completely outrageous.
Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said from her office in White
Plains, N.Y.: “The President clearly articulated the major challenges for our nation in our attempt to expand
freedom and liberty aboard. But we also face challenges here at home in providing affordable
health care, excellent schools, and safe communities. In all of these areas, we must be leaders
and we must succeed.”
Schakowsky (D-Ill) said "President Bush talks about creating an
'ownership society.' But for most people that means 'You’re on your own,
Buddy. Sink or swim, and don’t look to the government for help, unless, that is, you already own everything you need.'
"It is the goal of the President and the Republican Congress to undo the New Deal, the initiatives of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that lifted our country out of the depression, put Americans to work and guaranteed them basic retirement security by creating Social Security, a social insurance program that has never missed a single payment in its 70 years of existence and continues to faithfully do that monthly for 47 million
Americans," Schakowsky said. "The President plans to replace the New Deal with a Raw Deal."