- The Washington Times - Monday, January 12, 2009

President Bush will give a farewell address to the nation in prime time Thursday night, the White House announced Monday afternoon.

He will reflect on his time in office and the ways our country has changed these past eight years, said White House press secretary Dana Perino, who said that the speech is a ritual that dates back to George Washington.

Mr. Bush will give the 10- to 15-minute speech to a live audience in the East Room of the White House.

This would be the last scheduled public event before the president-elect arrives at the North Portico on Inauguration Day, Mrs. Perino said.

She said, however, that the speech will not be a swan song, but that the president will defend his record.

Mr. Bush, Mrs. Perino said, will also uphold the tradition of presidents using farewell addresses to look forward, by sharing his thoughts on greatest challenges facing the country, and on what it will take to meet them.

The White House said that early presidents delivered their farewell address in newspapers, as written messages, but that the trend has been in recent decades toward giving formal speeches.

Presidents Clinton and Reagan, they said, gave speeches from the White House, while Presidents Carter and Ford went to Capitol Hill for a final State of the Union address.

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