President Bush urged Americans to support his fight for freedom abroad and against terrorism at home Tuesday night in his fifth State of the Union address.
"The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil," Mr. Bush said.
After a tumultuous political year dotted with scandals swirling around his administration and dismal approval ratings, Mr. Bush sought to show Congress and the nation he could still lead forcefully. Seeking to quell the rancorous tone in Washington, Mr. Bush asked legislators to conduct debate in a "civil tone."
Specifically, regarding the war in Iraq, Mr. Bush said, "however we feel about the decisions and debates of the past, our Nation has only one option: we must keep our word, defeat our enemies, and stand behind the American military in its vital mission."
He added, "In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders. If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores."
Excerpts from the speech show that Mr. Bush will call for greater federal spending on basic science research and more money for math and science education. The president was to propose training 70,000 teachers to lead advanced math and science classes in high school, said Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Science Committee, who was briefed on the speech.
Senior Administration officials say Tuesday's speech will be more like an inaugural address than the usual State of the Union laundry list — an attempt to frame the debate for the mid-term elections and draw sharp contrasts with Democrats, CBS News chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports.
The president discusses troubles at home and abroad and says the nation needs to strengthen its competitiveness in the global economy. "The American economy is pre-eminent but we cannot afford to be complacent," he says. "In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new competitors like China and India."
"Our great advantage in the world has always been our educated, hardworking, ambitious people, and we are going to keep that edge," Mr. Bush says.
The address has gone through more than 30 drafts and was undergoing final editing at the White House, where Mr. Bush got a morale boost with theto the Supreme Court.
With the war in Iraq about to enter its fourth year and more than 2,240 American troops killed, Mr. Bush says the nation must not falter in what he called the central front in the war on terror.
"America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world," Mr. Bush says. "The best way to break this addiction is through technology."
Oil prices are inching toward $70 a barrel, and the president's goal of reducing dependence on foreign suppliers has been issued by the White House over the decades but never realized. Mr. Bush's primary proposal is to increase federal research into alternative fuels such as ethanol made from weeds or wood chips, instead of corn.
Mr. Bush also pushes for construction of new nuclear power plants and increased use of wind, solar and clean-coal technologies.
On health care, Mr. Bush's was expected to say, "Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility. For all Americans, we must confront the rising cost of care ... strengthen the doctor-patient relationship ... and help people afford the insurance coverage they seek."
CBS News has also learned the president will propose expanded tax deductions for medical expenses and health care savings accounts. It's a popular issue: more than 60 percent in the most recent CBS News/New York Times poll (.pdf) say government should guarantee health insurance for all.
This year is most likely the president's last chance to get any major legislation through Congress.
"For a two-term president after the November elections in the middle of your second term, things start going downhill and you really do start quacking like a duck," said David Gergen, a Republican who has served as an adviser to Democratic and GOP presidents.
Missing from the excerpts, Roberts reports, are Social Security and tax reform, the two big initiatives from the 2005 State of the Union. However, the President will likely call on Congress to address the triple threat facing retiring baby boomers: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
The Democrats, meanwhile, are already trying to blunt any political gains Mr. Bush might make from the speech.
The official Democratic response to the president's speech was being delivered by Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, considered a rising star in the party after winning office last year in a Southern state that went for Mr. Bush in 2004. Democrats hope to replicate his victory in congressional elections.