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THURSDAY, JANUARY 20, 2005
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EDITORIAL

President begins second term determined to succeed

At noon today, Washington time, President George W. Bush will renew his leadership of the nation and finish carving his place in history.

He begins his second term with an overall approval rating of 52 percent which pretty much reflects the outcome of the November presidential election.

On the positive side, the president has a growing economy that can help limit the ballooning national debt. He's kept terrorists from striking the nation again and he's led Republicans to firm control of Congress.

The president has said he wants this term to be one of healing and of having people who hold bitterly opposing views to find common ground.

That will test his leadership.

His legacy may not be in liberating Iraq because the war may still be going on when he leaves office. It may not be in having shepherded through Congress and the courts the program of his solid-core conservative Christian base.

How history treats him may be found in his resolve to do what he thinks is right without wavering, without second-guessing and without concern for political polls or any other restraining influences.

If that is to be true, let's hope the president is right and that he has the stomach for what is ahead.

Many issues divide America, including abortion, Social Security, the national debt, and taking the war against terrorism into other nations such as Iran.

The president creates a John Wayne image of resolve and self-assurance as he performs on the world stage.

Those around him often misunderstood the on-screen Wayne character who reveled in unpopular decisions and macho actions. The Wayne character had guts, was brave to a fault and had compassion. In the end everything came out all right because Big John was right.

That the president is right, no doubt, is the prayer in millions of hearts as this extraordinary man swears to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

And if he is right and successful, he will have united the nation.

Good luck, Mr. President.

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