WASHINGTON -- The Maryland congressional delegation generally applauded President Bush's speech last night, but some members offered criticism, too.
"A-plus," said Representative Wayne T. Gilchrest, R-Md.-1st, a former teacher at his first State of the Union address. Mr. Gilchrest especially liked the proposal for a national energy policy, a theme from his campaign, and calls for tenant ownership of public housing. He also favored the idea of enterprise zones.
Representative Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md.-3rd, called it a "great speech" and was pleased the president had addressed the strife-torn Baltic region and the possibility that some Soviet troops would leave and negotiations may begin.
But Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., said, "I think it should have been stronger about the Soviet Union" in the Baltics. She said all troops should leave.
Ms. Mikulski also was wary of the president's call for individual efforts to help solve the nation's problems. Although she applauds voluntarism, she said, "it cannot be done in lieu of what government can do."
"I think it's a very honest, heartfelt speech," said Representative Tom McMillen, D-Md.-4th. "I think he made his case for being in the gulf."
Mr. McMillen supported three economic initiatives proposed by the president -- tax-free family savings accounts, penalty-free withdrawals from IRAs for first-time homebuyers and a reduced tax for long-term capital gains.
Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, D-Md., thought the president underestimated the recession. He wondered how taxes could be cut on savings and capital gains amid deep economic problems. "The trouble is it costs you revenue," he said.
And Representative Kweisi Mfume, D-Md.-7th, criticized the president for pushing civil rights for Kuwait but not for black Americans.