Bush to Make Last State of the Union

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President Bush will speak to the nation tonight to unveil his plans for his last year in office.

Stay tuned tonight for live streaming of President Bush's last State of the Union Address, here on CBNNews.com beginning at 9 p.m. EST.

CBN News talked with the President's advisor, Ed Gillespie, and brings a preview of the State of the Union address.

Racing Against the Clock

As the President delivers his last state of the union address, his speech will reflect a race against time.

"It is a future-oriented and forward-oriented speech. It's action oriented and it has an agenda of new policy proposals, as well as unfinished business that needs to get done," Gillespie said.

Gillespie says the President remains relevant despite the distraction of an election year and a less-than-cooperative Congress.

"We think there's a window to get some things done, certainly before Congress goes home for the summer and before the conventions starts," he said.

The President will outline goals on education and energy. But his top economic priority is convincing Congress to extend his tax cuts which are set to expire in 2010.

"The best thing we can do for the economy is make the tax cuts we passed permanent," Bush said.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 

Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror are defining issues for this administration. And this year the Terrorist Surveillance Act will be front and center on the President's agenda.

"The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that allows us to monitor terrorist calls overseas, foreign suspected terrorists, is set to expire on February 1, and that is a very important tool in our anti-terrorist toolbox, and we shouldn't let that expire. So we're going to push hard to get that made permanent," Gillespie said.

Taking on his critics in Congress, the President will call for continued funding for the troops in Iraq.

"Bush has his head in the sand," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi charged. "It's a war without end."

Gillespie said, "You know, they do seem to oppose him, but they haven't been successful so far and I don't think they'll be successful because the American people do understand the stakes."

With his upcoming calendar crowded with overseas trips, Bush heads to Africa next month to tout his global aids initiative.

He'll ask Congress for another $30 billion to expand the plan five more years.

"We're hopeful that it will remain in place, and it does a lot to reinforce the accurate perception that America is a force for good in the world," Gillespie said.

The White House says this speech is not about legacy, but one intended to show a commander-in-chief who aims to keep shaping the nation's debate.

Gillespie said, "As the President says, he's sprinting to the finish, and we'll leave the legacy to the historians and others.

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Melissa Charbonneau

Melissa Charbonneau

CBN News Washington Correspondent

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