(CNSNews.com) - The accolades were rolling in Friday for President Bush's speech to a joint session of Congress and the nation. Even newspapers not known for being friendly to Bush administration policies had good things to say about a man who seems to be rising to his moment in history. What follows is a sampling of editorial opinion from some of the nation's leading newspapers.
New York Times
"A firm and forceful" address, the New York Times called it. "Mr. Bush rose to the challenge of making what may be the most critical speech of his life."
The New York Times editorial concluded that President Bush "accomplished everything he needed to do last night. He was as strong and forthright as the nation could have wished, while also maintaining a calm that must have reassured other nations that the United States will be prudent as well as brave."
"Mr. Bush's speech was clear and confident," said the Washington Post on Friday. That newspaper was less effusive in its praise than the New York Times, however, reminding Americans that we "should not underestimate the sweep and arduousness of the goals Mr. Bush described."
The editorial concluded with the thought that in the days and months ahead, both Bush's resolve and that of the American people "are sure to be tested."
Los Angeles Times
"President Bush Thursday evening gave the speech Americans and the world needed to hear," said the Los Angeles Times.
"He set forth--in broad language that will have to be fleshed out soon--daunting military, economic and diplomatic burdens. The strength of Bush's speech is that he made shouldering them seem possible."
Dallas Morning News
The lead editorial in this newspaper began with the following paragraph: "Seen by some as a young, untested president, George W. Bush left no doubt Thursday evening that neither he nor the nation will falter or tire in a brave campaign to save the world from the evil of terrorism.
"Nine days after the world witnessed terrorist attacks on our land that may have taken more than 6,000 lives, President Bush met his appointment with history with calm resolve. He reached out to the peoples of the globe in a historic congressional address that spelled out the threat to civilization and the necessary response from freedom-loving people everywhere."
It concluded, "As he has never done before, George W. Bush showed the kind of determination that will be necessary to galvanize the nation and the world."
The lead editorial in this newspaper gave the Bush administration credit for "acting impressively," and it called Bush's Thursday night speech "an important capstone."
But this newspaper was more critical than others, noting that the president's goals "are at odds - persuade people to act normally, yet prepare them for a new era that's anything but normal."
It also criticized the administration for moving "much to slowly" to get the public back in airplanes. "Air marshals - now promised by Bush - should be on board all flights already, and a concerted effort to get fliers, particularly business fliers, back in the air should be underway."
Describing President Bush "resolute as never before in his presidency," the Boston Globe gave the president credit for "delivering a stirring 35-minute speech that will surely help the nation share in its collective grief and rally behind the military operations that are to come."
But, the editorial continued, "what Bush still needs to do better is delineate the nation's goals in a clear and thoughtful way.
"Last night Bush talked about ridding the world of terrorism, but he sent mixed signals about his next steps... He dealt with few of the hard questions involved."
The editorial concluded this way: "Near the end of his stirring speech, Bush spoke of the nation when he said that, in this tragic attack, 'we have found our moment.' If the president's actions are also effective, the same will be said of him."
Wall Street Journal
Newspapers traditionally friendly to Republican administrations, including the Wall Street Journal, were unstinting in their praise for President Bush's speech to the nation.
"With his address to a joint session of Congress last night, there's little doubt that Mr. Bush is growing into his role as a wartime leader." His "plain style" and "Everyman ability" worked to his advantage, the newspaper said, providing a "moral clarity that is useful at a time of crisis."
The newspaper also noted that Bush seems decisive - not prone to second-guess himself. Given his words and actions of the past ten days, "he's more than up to the task" of making the hard calls that await him in the days ahead.