President Bush goes over a draft of tonight's address to the nation with members of the White House speechwriting staff Thursday, Sept. 13, 2007, in the Oval Office. With him, from left, are: Marc Theissen, Bill McGurn and Christopher Michel. White House photo by Eric Draper.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush is expected to emphasize what his administration calls "bottom-up" political progress in Iraq in a major address to the nation Thursday night, a senior administration official said.
Amid Democratic criticism and Republican concerns that the so-called troop surge has failed to produce national reconciliation at the top levels in Baghdad, the official said the president is expected to argue that grass-roots efforts by Iraqis are "laying the groundwork for national reconciliation" but there is a "long haul and tough work ahead."
Bush ordered nearly 30,000 additional troops to Iraq in January - a move known as "the surge" - in an effort to pacify Baghdad and its surrounding provinces amid rampant sectarian and insurgent warfare.
Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told congressional hearings this week the surge campaign has met its military goals of reducing sectarian killings by more than 50 percent nationwide and by more than 80 percent in Baghdad.