Bush defends "tough decisions"

Bush defends "tough decisions"Washington  - US President George W Bush said in his farewell address Thursday that there can be "little debate" that the tough or controversial decisions he's made during his presidency have kept the United States safe.

"There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions. But there can be little debate about the results," Bush says in excerpts released by the White House in advance of his speech. "America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil."

Bush was to give his final address to the nation at 8 pm (0100 GMT Friday) from the White House's East Room, as he tries to salvage his legacy after eight years in office despite leaving with some of the lowest job approval ratings ever. He has steadfastly maintained that history will be the ultimate judge of his presidency, which ends when Barack Obama is sworn in at noon Tuesday.

Bush will give way to Obama amid the worst recession in decades and ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The president-elect also inherits the unfinished job of closing the notorious prison camp for suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right," Bush said. "You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions."

Bush offered best wishes to Obama and described his successor as a man "whose story reflects the enduring promise of our land."

Next week's inauguration is "a moment of hope and pride for our whole nation," Bush said.

"And I join all Americans in offering best wishes to president- elect Obama, his wife Michelle and their two beautiful girls." dpa

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