Analysts examine State of the Union address
(CNN) -- In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Bush defended his decision to go to war in Iraq and challenged Congress to support his domestic agenda. CNN political analysts debated the impact of the speech and whether the president made a strong case for re-election.
"Several times throughout the speech, the president was taking shots across the bow, if you will, of his potential opponents. The line that struck me was when the president said that "we will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of the United States." I have a hunch that line was written before the Iowa caucuses, because Howard Dean is the person who talked about permission from the U.N. -- and it was a shot across the bow of John Kerry and General [Wesley] Clark, and all of the Democrats who were talking about the United Nations. That's a very tough way to describe that policy."
-- CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield
"There was another shot across the bow as far as the presidential campaign is concerned. He seemed to be addressing Howard Dean directly when he said the world without Saddam Hussein is a better and safer place. Howard Dean had insisted the capture of Saddam Hussein didn't necessarily make the world a safer place. I heard several references, several clear reactions, from the president, setting the stage for what could be a very bitter presidential debate this year."
-- CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer
"He did not shy away from some of the most controversial aspects, one being the Patriot Act. Many might not know that legislation by its name, but the Democrats every day say this administration has gone too far, infringing on civil liberties in trying to fight the war on terrorism here at home. Knowing it is a line that so motivates the Democrats, you might think that the president would leave that debate for another day, but instead he addressed it head-on, saying Congress must renew that power. The White House continues to say this was not a political speech by the president, but make no mistake, this president went at every opportunity to directly rebut and directly challenge the Democrats."
-- CNN senior White House correspondent John King
"The speech was expected to go beyond the base. That was the idea -- that he would go beyond his conservative base -- and the speech defended a lot of his conservative views on Iraq, on the "No Child Left Behind" act, but it didn't seem to stake out any new territory for this president. It wasn't the expansive, optimistic, bold new initiatives. Notice he didn't even talk about the space program because that's proved to be quite unpopular. He didn't move beyond his political base. He's not in trouble for re-election -- about 60 percent say they think he should be re-elected -- but he didn't gain any ground because his speech wasn't a speech that really staked out any new territory."
-- CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider