Bush Faces Long List of Demands
WASHINGTON – As President Bush (search) prepares to build on the domestic and foreign policies of his first term, both his supporters and critics say they have some of their own issues they'd like to see addressed.
"Social Security, terrorism — definitely security against terrorism," Peggy Micsky, a Bush-supporter from Waldorf, Md., said of what she'd like Bush to spearhead during his second term.
Micsky, who was holding up a "Democrats are babies" poster during the inauguration ceremony on Thursday, said Bush was the best choice not only to defend the country but to make people see the good that goes on here and among the American people.
"I'm tired of people talking about the U.S.A. We're the best country in the world," she said, adding that she's also tired of the media "bashing" Bush.
Bush "doesn't go by the polls," Micsky's son, Charles White, said of the president when asked why he came out to support the incumbent on inauguration day. Another plus in Bush's column, White said, was his rejection of "gay marriage and all that weird stuff."
Big items on Bush's domestic agenda include adding personal savings accounts to Social Security (search) to allow young workers to put some of their retirement money in investments; reforming the tax system; and making sure the nation's schools are held more accountable, particularly in math and reading.
In the international arena, Bush is still overseeing the war in Iraq and the War on Terror, while trying to mend frayed relations with those countries who didn't agree with the United States' and its allies' decision to use military force to oust former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein (search).
"I'm looking forward to putting my heart and soul into this job for another four years," Bush said during a luncheon on Capitol Hill Thursday after he was officially sworn in as the nation's 43rd president and before he was driven down Pennsylvania Avenue for the inaugural parade.
But he faces challenges on the domestic and foreign policy fronts from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and the American and global public.
"I hope that Social Security is not privatized," said Sonia Lazreg, a 22-year-old Bush critic from New York City who added she's also fearful that under Bush's watch, the landmark Roe v. Wade (search) decision permitting abortion rights is also overturned.
"I'm sort of concerned about the Supreme Court spots," Lazreg added. "He continues to say 'no litmus test' ... [I hope] there is truly an effort to have a nonpartisan justice in place."
Bertrand Murguet, who was carrying a Bush protest sign, grew up in France but now lives in New York. He said that his hope for Americans for the next four years is that Bush will focus more on domestic issues and must work more multilaterally on international ones.
"This country has to work with the international organizations and show some will to help reorganize these organizations," he said, referring to the United Nations (search), among other international bodies.
The United Nations didn't formally support the decision to go to war and has since been mired in scandal surrounding its oversight of Iraq's Oil-for-Food (search) program — a controversy that could overshadow its efforts to help reconstruction of that country.
In his inaugural speech Thursday, Bush said America's well-being depends on progress made around the world.
"We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands," the president said. "The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."
He added: "In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty. ... No one is fit to be a master and no one deserves to be a slave."
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that left about 3,000 people dead, Bush and other administration officials voiced the need to find Al Qaeda ringleader Usama bin Laden — dead or alive — and punish those responsible. Yet, less than a year later, the United States led the charge into Iraq. And that raised more than one eyebrow in the international community.
"We are agreed on this — we need to stop them," Sarach said, referring to bin Laden and other terrorist leaders. "But [Bush] needs to think more and take his time" before invading other countries, she added. "America is a really big country and he has to care about international issues because the U.S.A. is so strong ... [but] he should take care of his own country."