Bush Speech To Tackle Oil, Education

State of the Union Preparation
White House photo by Eric Draper
Hampered by huge budget deficits and an unpopular war, President Bush seeks to take charge of the election-year agenda Tuesday by declaring America must break its dependence on Mideast oil and calling for training 70,000 math and science teachers to improve the nation's competitiveness.

Released excerpts of his State of the Union speech show the president saying, "America is addicted to oil" and must break its dependence on foreign suppliers in unstable parts of the world.

Mr. Bush calls for greater federal spending on basic science research and more money for math and science education. The president was to propose training 70,000 teachers to lead advanced math and science classes in high school, said Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Science Committee, who was briefed on the speech.

Mr. Bush renews his commitment to the central pledge of his inaugural address. "Our nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal; we seek the end of tyranny in our world," he says. "The future security of America depends on it."

Senior Administration officials say Tuesday's speech will be more like an inaugural address than the usual State of the Union laundry list — an attempt to frame the debate for the mid-term elections and draw sharp contrasts with Democrats, CBS News chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports.

Watch President Bush's speech live on at 9 p.m. ET.

The president discusses troubles at home and abroad and says the nation needs to strengthen its competitiveness in the global economy. "The American economy is pre-eminent but we cannot afford to be complacent," he says. "In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new competitors like China and India."

"Our great advantage in the world has always been our educated, hardworking, ambitious people, and we are going to keep that edge," Mr. Bush says.

The stakes couldn't be higher for President Bush. He's had a rough first year of his second term, but tonight he'll use his fifth State of the Union address to garner support from the Republican-controlled Congress and the American people on domestic and foreign initiatives, CBS News senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante reports.

The address has gone through more than 30 drafts and was undergoing final editing at the White House, where Mr. Bush got a morale boost with the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.

With the war in Iraq about to enter its fourth year and more than 2,240 American troops killed, Mr. Bush says the nation must not falter in what he called the central front in the war on terror.

"In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders," the president says. "If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores."