We'll take that as a "no"

In the run-up to Bush's last State of the Union address, his press secretary ponders whether the country is better off than it was seven years ago.

Published January 28, 2008 8:43PM (EST)

At today's White House press gaggle, devoted almost entirely to George W. Bush's final State of the Union address, a reporter asked Dana Perino a simple yes-or-no question: "Is the country better off now than seven years ago?"

Here's how she answered:

"Certainly seven years ago -- well, seven years ago, right before September 11th, I think that people would say that the country certainly felt better off. There's been -- once we were confronted with terrorists who would fly jumbo jets into buildings and kill thousands of our citizens in an instant, it created a sense of fear and nervousness about our security. And that's why the president decided to take on the terrorists head on and go on the offense.

"And we have done that around the world. We have been successful so far in preventing another attack on our country. But it's not for their lack of trying. And that's another reason why the president -- tonight you'll hear him call on Congress to pass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act reauthorization. They have until Friday to do that, and the president sees no reason why they shouldn't be able to get that done."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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