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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 January 2008, 11:58 GMT
State of the Union: Past highlights
As President Bush prepares to deliver his 2008 State of the Union address, we look back of some of the highlights of years past.


The war in Iraq was the dominant theme of the 2007 address, with President Bush warning that failure there would have "grievous" consequences.

Mr Bush referred to the bomb attack nearly a year before, in February 2006, that badly damaged one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam, the Golden Mosque of Samarra.

The result was a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal that continues to this day.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi of the Democratic Party (left) shakes hands with President Bush
It was his first address since the Republicans lost control of Congress

This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we are in. Every one of us wishes that this war were over and won.

Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk....

Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq - and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field - and those on their way.

The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others.

That is why it is important to work together so our Nation can see this great effort through.

The first half of 2007 saw the US build up its troop levels with an extra 30,000 personnel being deployed under the Iraq "surge" strategy.

The last third of the year saw a dramatic improvement in the security situation in many of the most troubled areas of Iraq, including much of Baghdad.

2007 was, however, the most deadly year for US forces in Iraq, with some 900 troops killed.


President Bush often speaks about energy in his annual speech, but rarely more bluntly than he did in 2006.

America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology... we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy...

We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen... Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75% of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.

The US government says the country presently imports 65% of its petroleum and is on target to reduce it to 57% by 2025. A fairly small percentage of US oil imports come from the Middle East.


Fresh from his re-election victory, President Bush in 2005 laid out an ambitious plan to reshape the country's pensions programme, Social Security:

We must pass reforms that solve the financial problems of Social Security once and for all.

As we fix Social Security, we also have the responsibility to make the system a better deal for younger workers. And the best way to reach that goal is through voluntary personal retirement accounts.

The White House ran into strenuous opposition to its plans in Congress and made little progress with Social Security reform.


Mr Bush was in a bullish mood when he delivered his first State of the Union address following the invasion of Iraq:

Since we last met in this chamber, combat forces of the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Poland, and other countries enforced the demands of the United Nations, ended the rule of Saddam Hussein, and the people of Iraq are free...

The once all-powerful ruler of Iraq was found in a hole, and now sits in a prison cell.

... Last January, Iraq's only law was the whim of one brutal man. Today our coalition is working with the Iraqi Governing Council to draft a basic law, with a bill of rights. We are working with Iraqis and the United Nations to prepare for a transition to full Iraqi sovereignty by the end of June.

The US did hand over sovereignty to an Iraqi government in June 2004 - two days earlier than scheduled - but continues struggling to establish order there.


Sixteen words from President Bush's 2003 speech proved to have wide-ranging repercussions:

The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from

A former US ambassador, Joseph Wilson, later said he had gone to Niger to investigate that claim for the US government and found no evidence it was true.

His wife Valerie Plame was soon after revealed to be a CIA agent, prompting a special investigation into whether the leak came from the administration in revenge or to discredit Mr Wilson, as he claimed.

No charges were ever brought over the leak, but Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff Lewis Libby was brought to trial on charges of trying to obstruct the investigation.


Mr Bush's 2002 State of the Union address came only four-and-a-half months after the 11 September attacks, and introduced perhaps his most famous phrase - "axis of evil", a description of Iran, Iraq and North Korea.

States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger...

The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.


President Bush's first State of the Union address came before 11 September 2001, and focused almost entirely on domestic issues.

It did contain a passing reference to the dangers ranging from "terrorists who threaten with bombs to tyrants in rogue nations intent upon developing weapons of mass destruction".

But the vast majority of the speech was about the economy, taxes and education.

Education is my top priority and, by supporting this budget, you'll make it yours, as well.

Reading is the foundation of all learning. So during the next five years, we triple spending, adding $5bn to help every child in America learn to read. Values are important, so we've tripled funding for character education to teach our children not only reading and writing, but right from wrong.

We've increased funding to train and recruit teachers, because we know a good education starts with a good teacher. And I have a wonderful partner in this effort. I like teachers so much, I married one.

Mr Bush's signature No Child Left Behind education initiative passed with bipartisan support.

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