Bush's final State of the Union address focuses on the familiar

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's final State-of-the-Union address is expected to reflect the political reality that there is little room for any big ideas out of the White House during his remaining months in office.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino says anything new and major is "just not realistic."

Look for the economy to be a dominant theme of Monday night's speech. It's expected Bush will begin with domestic matters and then move into foreign policy. The speech is likely to emphasize unfinished business that Bush considers both vital and doable, but it could include some new items of a modest nature.

The president will ask Congress to make permanent the tax cuts that are set to expire in 2010. He'll prod lawmakers to extend a law allowing surveillance of suspected terrorists, renew the education act and approve free-trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

He is also likely to recycle ideas on alternative energy, affordable health care and housing reform.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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