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Bush: 'Congratulations Madame Speaker!'

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush Tuesday began his State of the Union address by congratulating Nancy Pelosi on becoming the first female speaker of the House.

"I have the high privilege and distinct honor of my own as the first president to begin the State of the Union message with these words: 'Madame Speaker.'"

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Bush said Pelosi's father, U.S. Rep. Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. of Maryland, "saw Presidents Roosevelt and Truman at this rostrum. But nothing could compare with the sight of his only daughter, Nancy, presiding tonight as speaker of the House of Representatives.

"Congratulations, Madam Speaker! Congratulations."

Bush also acknowledged the absence of Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., who suffered a brain hemorrhage, and Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., who is undergoing chemotherapy.

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