Bob Graham, a U.S. Senator from Florida, joined a host of Democrats Wednesday responding to President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address.
Graham, less than a week from scheduled heart valve surgery, said in a news release that Bush’s address was “a very well-structured and delivered speech.”
Graham, however, maintained that Bush has not yet made a strong enough case for going to war with Iraq.
“I think the president moved forward tonight and presented some new information,” Graham said. “The test is going to be whether he is persuasive enough to cause a significant number of other countries to join us in an alliance. We don’t want to be in the situation of waging the military action alone.”
Graham said he is happy that Secretary of State Colin Powell has decided to meet with the United Nations to present U.S. intelligence information.
For several weeks, Graham has said that Bush’s preparations for war in Iraq have taken away from the overall war on terrorism. He said the president should be concentrating on dangerous terrorist cells.
“We have had the better part of six months to get this job of going after (Iraq) done,” Graham said. “We could have taken out not only significant numbers of al-Qaida, but Hezbollah and other groups.”
Graham’s release dealt little with Bush’s domestic agenda. But, Graham said, he is concerned about Bush’s stance on Medicare.
“He wants to herd people into managed care in order for them to receive a prescription drug benefit,” Graham said. “That’s simply wrong.”
Graham did not comment in the release about Bush’s economic plan. Democrat leaders spent Wednesday attacking Bush’s proposals. One of the issues at stake is a proposed tax cut and tax cuts for investors meant to jumpstart the economy.
Graham has, in past weeks, called Bush’s plan flawed. With the economy still struggling, that plan will probably be one of the most important and most debated domestic issues in the upcoming legislative year.