ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: President Bush plans to use his last formal address as president to list a range of accomplishments — highlighting the fact that the nation hasn’t been attacked since Sept. 11, 2001.
"Over the past seven years, a new Department of Homeland Security has been created. The military, the intelligence community, and the FBI have been transformed," the president plans to say, according to excerpts released Thursday afternoon by the White House. "Our nation is equipped with new tools to monitor the terrorists’ movements, freeze their finances, and break up their plots. And with strong allies at our side, we have taken the fight to the terrorists and those who support them.
"There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions. But there can be little debate about the results. America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil. This is a tribute to those who toil day and night to keep us safe — law enforcement officers, intelligence analysts, homeland security and diplomatic personnel, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces."
Other areas of presidential pride: No Child Left Behind; the Medicare prescription drug benefit; tax cuts; faith-based programs; protections for "vulnerable human life"; "measurably cleaner" air, water, and land; and the confirmation of two Supreme Court justices.
He’ll have kind words for his successor: "Standing on the steps of the Capitol will be a man whose story reflects the enduring promise of our land. This is a moment of hope and pride for our whole nation. And I join all Americans in offering best wishes to President-elect Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two beautiful girls," Bush plans to say.
I’ll be analyzing the president’s speech tonight on ABC NewsNOW, starting at 7:35 pm ET, with Sam Donaldson and Torie Clarke.