Excerpts From Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine's State of the Union Rebuttal

“I worked as a missionary in Honduras when I was a young man and I learned to measure my life by the difference I can make in someone else’s life.  Coretta Scott King embodied that value and tonight, as a nation, we mourn her passing.  Our faith and values teach us that there is no higher calling than serving others.”
On Government:
“The federal government should serve the American people.  But that mission is frustrated by this Administration’s poor choices and bad management. Families in the Gulf Coast see that as they wait to rebuild their lives.  Americans who lose their jobs see that as they look to rebuild their careers.  And our soldiers in Iraq see that as they try to rebuild a nation.”
 “I want to offer some good news tonight – there is a better way.”
On Economy:
“Tonight, we heard the President again call to make his tax policies permanent, despite his Administration’s failure to manage our staggering national debt.  Over the past five years, we’ve gone from huge surpluses to massive deficits.  No parent makes their child pay the mortgage.  Why should we allow this Administration to pass down the bill for its reckless spending to our children and grandchildren?”
On Health Care:
 “There’s a better way.  Health care reforms must focus on making the system serve consumers better.  Many states, following the lead of Illinois, have set up simple ways to help our seniors purchase safe, American-made prescription drugs from other countries at a fraction of the price they would pay here.  The Administration actually fought against that Democratic effort! In Virginia, we have worked to provide health insurance coverage for nearly 140,000 children who weren’t covered four years ago.  And Republicans and Democrats alike have banded together to fight the Administration’s efforts to slash Medicaid and push more costs on to the states.”
On Security:
“The President called again tonight for our commitment to win the war on terror and to support our troops.  All Americans embrace those goals.  We can, and we must, defeat those who attack and kill innocent people.  While the images of the World Trade Center are seared in the minds of all Americans, so too are the memories of those who died on sacred ground in Virginia in the attack on the Pentagon.  Our commitment to winning the war on terrorism compels us to ask this question:  Are the President’s policies the best way to win this war? “
“We now know that the American people where given inaccurate information about the reasons for invading Iraq.  We now know that our troops in Iraq were not given the best body armor or the best intelligence.  We now know that the Administration wants to cut tens of thousands of troops from the Army and National Guard and Reserves at the very time America is facing new and dangerous threats.  And we now know the Administration wants to further reduce military and veterans’ benefits.”
“There’s a better way.   Working together, we must give our troops the tools they need to win the war on terror.  We can do it without sacrificing the liberty we have sent our troops abroad to defend.  Our support has to begin at home.  That’s why we in Virginia – Democrats working with Republicans — have reformed and enhanced our Department of Veterans Services to help our veterans and their family members access the benefits that they have earned.  And, we are working to provide state re-enlistment bonuses to honor Virginians who stay in service to Commonwealth and Country.”
On Service:
“The better way is to focus on service.  It’s about measuring what we do in terms of real results for real people.  It’s not about partisanship or political spin.  It’s about protecting the rights endowed by our Creator; fulfilling the principle of equality set out in our Declaration of Independence; ensuring that the light of liberty shines on every American.”
On Reform:
“If we want to replace the division that grips our nation’s capital, we need a change.  Democrats are leading that reform effort, working to restore honesty and openness to our government, working to replace a culture of partisanship and cronyism with an ethic of service and results.”