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Bush points to new tone, outlines goals

The fate of many of Bush's top legislative initiatives may be decided when Congress returns in the fall.  

By Greg Botelho

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Halfway through his first year in office, President George W. Bush detailed what he identified as his administration's successes and outlined its goals in a Rose Garden speech Friday afternoon.

Flanked by his Cabinet, the president said civility and integrity had returned to Washington since he took office in January, fulfilling his pledge made on the campaign trail.

"Together with Congress, we're proving that a new tone, a clear agenda and active leadership can bring significant progress to the nation's capital," Bush said. "We're ending deadlock and drift and making our system work on behalf of the American people."

The speech came a day before Bush will leave Washington for a monthlong vacation. The president is set to spend most of that time at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, but he will also make speeches at several sites around the country.

Bush congratulates his Cabinet and recaps his first six months in office. Watch the news conference. (August 3)

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White House details 'successes' over first six months  
MESSAGE BOARD: The political spectrum  

Bush began his remarks Friday by praising his Cabinet and "the goodwill shown by Congress." He then detailed several accomplishments of the last six months, including movement on education legislation, aid for the homeless, a patients' bill of rights and "the first major tax cut in a generation."

Except for the tax cut, most of the White House's top initiatives remain unfinished, with many likely to resurface when Congress re-adjourns in September after its monthlong hiatus.

On Friday, the president laid out his administration's goals for the fall. He said he would work to assist the disadvantaged, control spending and "protect Medicare, Social Security and our armed forces and the American taxpayers."

"When we all come back in September, so many accomplishments are within our reach, and I look forward to the work ahead," Bush said.

While the president expressed optimism, many Democrats -- spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt -- have criticized the Bush administration. They have accused Bush of dividing Washington with his partisan stances on various issues, including the budget, environment and health care.

• The White House
• U.S. Congress
• U.S. House of Representatives
• U.S. Senate

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