Democrats in Arkansas Delegation are Skeptical after Bush's State-of-the-Union Address

JANUARY 24, 2007 - Posted at 7:30 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - The lone Republican among Arkansas' six-member congressional delegation is more enthusiastic about President Bush's State of the Union speech last night than the five Democrats. Skepticism was a prominent theme among the Democrats from Arkansas serving in Congress.

--Democratic Senator Mark Pryor said he liked some of the things Bush said about domestic needs. But he said there was not enough detail for Pryor to say if he could support them or not. Besides, Pryor said, Bush has a track record of talking about things in his State of the Union speech and not following through.

--The Republican member of the delegation, Congressman John Boozman, said Bush laid out an aggressive and ambitious plan to spread opportunity and hope across America. He praised in particular Bush's plan to make health care more affordable.

--Democratic Congressman Vic Snyder agreed that Bush did a good job of outlining some big domestic challenges -- health care, the deficit, energy policy, entitlements, public education and immigration. But Snyder said the key question is how Bush will follow through. He said those problems have faced the nation for six years, and very little happened under a Republican Congress.

--Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln noted the president's stated goal of working with Congress. She said that's been the hope of those in Congress for a very long time, but there's been little evidence of it the past six years.

--Democratic Congressman Marion Berry said it was hard for him to take seriously Bush's expressed intentions after listening to six previous State of the Union speeches from Bush, with aims that ultimately went unaddressed. He also said the speech was seriously disingenuous, in that Bush talked about not leaving problems to future generations, but has passed $3 trillion in debt on to them.

--Democratic Congressman Mike Ross said he was disappointed that Bush wasn't offering a new direction for Iraq, but rather more of the same. He said Bush failed to persuade him that a planned increase in the number of troops committed to the war was a good thing.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)