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Bush Prepares for State of Union Speech


President Bush is preparing for his State of the Union address Tuesday, the first time in his presidency he will be addressing a joint session of Congress controlled by the opposition Democratic Party.

White House officials say the president will focus on domestic issues he hopes to work with the opposition on in the last two years of his presidency. They say he will propose new initiatives on health care, American energy needs and immigration reform.

Mr. Bush also is expected to address his new strategy for Iraq, which has been met with deep skepticism from Democrats as well as some of those in his own Republican Party.

Newly-elected Democratic Senator Jim Webb of Virginia will give his party's response to Mr. Bush's speech following the president's address. Webb is an outspoken critic of Mr. Bush's policies in Iraq and has a son serving in the war-torn country.

Mr. Bush's speech at the U.S. Capitol will include nearly every high-level official of the American government - including Bush administration officials, senators and house members, as well as members of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Due to security concerns, several members of each branch of government are taken to a safe, undisclosed location outside of Washington.

The president's speech will be covered live by all the major U.S. television networks.

The Voice of America will stream Mr. Bush's speech over the Internet at www.voanews.com.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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