The President’s speech was designed to build a backstop against the American people’s shaken confidence in this Administration stemming from the fallout over the military operation in Iraq. It remains to be seen if his strategy was effective.

I was encouraged by his emphasis on the health care crisis in America, the emphasis on energy independence and boosting the production of renewable fuels and the emphasis on closing the backdoor to illegal immigration and opening the front door to legal immigration. These goals can be achieved only through sincere bipartisan efforts.

The foremost concern for many Americans is our involvement in Iraq. The Senate is about to consider resolutions concerning the President’s surge proposal and I hope we can send a clear, respectful and bipartisan message about the way forward in Iraq that will be heard in the White House and in Baghdad.