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President George Walker Bush delivered his final State of the Union address just a few hours ago. Without a hint of nostalgia, our President went through his list of domestic & foreign policy issues. He thanks our troops, thanked Congress for the funding – and in a pause, a lone voice shouted “Oo-Rah.” Some thought it sounded like “You rock.” Nope – it was a Marine Corps shout-out to the Commander in Chief. It was cool.

Let me be clear here. I know the Dems are taking credit for the troops coming home. They don’t deserve it. The troops are the ones who made it happen. Not Bush, not Nancy Pelosi – the people on the front lines deserve the credit. The men & women in our nations uniform make everything in our Republic possible. Because of their hard work, about 20,000 troops are coming home this year. Perhaps more.

No one wants to come home more than the men & women in uniform – except their lovers, spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends. No member of Congress, no staffer in the OEOB wants it more.

President Bush challenged Congress on earmarks – threatened to veto pork-laden spending bills. He challenged Congress to fully fund the Millennium Challenge Accounts. He challenged Congress to help fight famine by purchasing directly from farmers in developing nations. He challenged Congress to continue funding PEPFAR. He advocated for more anti-retroviral drugs and eradicating malaria.

All in all… it was solid – not quite conciliatory, but not confrontational. Watching him tonight, I can’t help but wonder what will happen in Minneapolis when our party finally nominates a candidate to oppose either Romney, or McCain. As much as the convention will be for & about the next president — it will also be a chance for the 8 million volunteers from George Walker Bush’s adventures in politics since 1994 to say goodbye to him. Pundits will tell you how W has low approval ratings. Both Romney & McCain have avoided W like the plague.

I offer my candid assessment to the eventual Republican nominee: If you reject W, you are rejecting the eight million folks who considered it a privilege to work for George Walker Bush’s electoral success. They knocked on doors, phone banked, raised record amounts of money and delivered the popular vote in 2004 – outpacing John Kerry by three million votes.

George Walker Bush’s policies embrace humanity – from fighting AIDS and malaria, to extending a hand of friendship towards our brothers and sisters from South of the Border. His outspoken – and historic support for a real, functioning Palestinian state to the call for ethics & earmark reforms, and support for advancement in medical research. George Walker Bush IS the president. Because of him, 25 million people in Afghanistan have a chance to enjoy real freedom for the first time in recent memory. Because of George Walker Bush – the horrors of genital mutilation and preventable diseases have been de-stigmatized. 2008 is about change and authenticity – but it is also about Hope. America delivers hope when we are at our boldest.

The Democrats have found hope in Barack Obama. Independents and young voters are responding to him as well.

Tonight, George Walker Bush proved one thing: he is still the best candidate the GOP has to offer.

— Media Lizzy