WASHINGTON_From the steps of the cold, drizzly Capitol George Walker Bush addressed the nation for the first time as president Saturday, encouraging the country to take advantage of the good economic times by confronting problems in the nation.
Bush highlighted education, Social Security, and taxes as problems to be addressed in his administration.
“Together we will reclaim America’s schools, before ignorance and apathy claim more young lives,” said Bush. “We will reform Social Security and Medicare, sparing our children from struggles we have the power to prevent. And we will reduce taxes to recover the momentum of our economy and reward the effort and enterprise of working Americans.”
Bush also included the building of national defenses as well as confronting the problem of mass destruction as priorities.
Bush made a pledge to work “to build a single nation of justice and opportunity”.
“Today, we affirm a new commitment to live out our nation’s promise through civility, courage, compassion and character,” said Bush.
Ohio State Sen. Jeffry Armbruster (R-13) said he enjoyed the ceremony despite the wet weather.
“It was a once in a lifetime situation, at least for us. It was really neat,” he said. Armbruster said he only was disappointed in one aspect of the ceremony. “People were moving at the end during the national anthem and prayer. We’re in such a hurry as a society, we could at least wait for the end of the ceremony to give thanks for what we have,” he said.
Congressman Sherrod Brown (D-13), who was present at the Inaugural ceremony, said he was happy to hear Bush was taking a compromising position in a country divided by Democrats and Republicans.
“The speech was good, it was middle-of- the-road George Bush,” said Brown of the presidents Inaugural address. “We’ve seen his cabinet which is far-right George Bush, and I hope middle-of-the-road George Bush is the one that governs.”
Brown said it will be important for Bush to choose his battles.
“The huge tax cut will make it impossible to protect us and impossible to do prescription drug cuts and defense spending,” he said. ” I don’t want to see the country go back to deficit spending.”
Amidst a crowd of fur coats, boots and cowboy hats, several Ohioans traveled to the nation’s capital to observe the inauguration of the 43rd president.
Despite being trapped outside of the ceremony until nearly noon, Enid Copen, 49, of Grafton was excited to be at the event.
“It’s wonderful to be here,” she said.
Copen was one of hundreds trapped outside of the ceremony outside of security checkpoints. Police did not have information on crowd estimates or the number of citizens unable to get into the ceremony.
Jan Commers, 42, of Paulding missed the beginning of the ceremony as well, but was happy to experience the Inaugural address.
“I was disappointed not to see that actual Inauguration, but it was nice to see the first speech he gave as president,” said Commers.
Jeff Cartwright, 18, of Dublin voted for the first time in this year’s presidential election.
“I’m a big Bush supporter,” he said.
Cartwright, and a friend he met, Patrick Ploumb, 21, an elector from Washington state also were trapped outside of the ceremony, but said it was worth the wait when they gained access.
“It was certainly worth it,” said Ploumb.
“Well worth it,” said Cartwright.
Armbruster said Bush’s speech showed both the issues the president will address and what is important to the president.
“Community and family are very important to him, as they should be to all of us. Those issues are important to Bush as well as myself,” he said.
Brown cautioned that Bush must maintain compromise for the next for years.
“There are millions of people in this country that don’t think their votes were counted…he needs to reach out and heal wounds, not deepen them, and I hope he does that.”
Brown voiced objection to the tax cuts mentioned in Bush’s Inaugural address.
“The 80 percent tax cut goes to 10 percent of the people. There is a reason the people in the fur coats came to the inaugural, those are the people that benefit from the tax cuts,” said Brown.
Armbruster said he is optimistic about the new administration.
“I think that president Bush has proven himself with the Texas legislature. We in Ohio have looked at the things Texas has done. It’s been a bipartisan effort and I certainly think
Bush will try to do the same thing with Congress.”
Armbruster said, while both sides, or parties, may not be content on all issues, he believes Bush will move the country progressively ahead.