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Candidates question Bush's State of the Union

Sen. John Kerry speaks to supporters Tuesday in New Hampshire.
Sen. John Kerry speaks to supporters Tuesday in New Hampshire.

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CNN's Candy Crowley reports on Democratic presidential candidates' attacks on Bush on the eve of his State of the Union.
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CONCORD, New Hampshire (CNN) -- Checking in from the New Hampshire campaign trail, Democrats running for president were quick to find fault with President Bush's State of the Union address Tuesday night.

"President Bush is in a state of denial about the state of our union," quipped Sen. Joe Lieberman on a conference call with reporters from Penacook, New Hampshire.

While in Concord, Iowa caucus winner Sen. John Kerry questioned the president's plans for stimulating the economy.

"I don't think the president laid the agenda that gets America moving again tonight," he said.

"Last month the goal of this administration was to create 250,000 jobs. They created 1,000 jobs -- 249,000 short," Kerry said. "A lot of people have even left the market and aren't measured anymore as the unemployed because they're not trying to find jobs."

Lieberman took issue with the Bush claim that "the state of our union is confident and strong."

"The America he describes as confident and strong is not the America I've seen as I travel across this country," the Connecticut senator said, adding people are "fearful" about their economic situations, the rising cost of health care and the lack of security they face when it comes to retirement.

He accused the president of offering "cosmetic ideas" for fixing some of the nation's most pressing problems.

Ahead of the speech, during a New York fund-raising stop, Sen. John Edwards predicted Bush would say that the state of the union is strong.

"The question is: Which union? The union of insiders and special interests is strong."

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark also chimed in ahead of the address, while campaigning in Manchester, New Hampshire.

"Tonight you'll hear the start of his campaign. He's running on broken promises, failed commitments." (CNN.com's interactive Election Calendar)

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, also in Manchester, accused Bush of pandering to the board rooms of corporate America, instead of focusing on Main Street USA.

"I think this president thinks things look terrific from the White House balcony or from the suites of the big corporations or the CEOs that are benefiting from his policies -- those that got all that money from the drug bill ... all the HMOs, the insurance companies."


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