President Reagan today reviewed the accomplishments of his Administration over the last seven years as one long success story and told cheering federal appointees, "Let's bring them to their feet in our closing act."
The President made the valedictory remarks at his annual pep rally at Constitution Hall to rouse top-level political appointees for the final countdown of the Reagan Revolution.
At a time when the political attentions of the nation seem more focused on who may succeed him Jan. 20, 1989, Reagan plans this week to review his record and show that his convictions remain strong.
'We're Moving Ahead'
Chiding the "doom-sayers" who "can't make the network news" without being critical, Reagan told his appointees: "In the year ahead we're not going to be on the defense, shoring up problems, answering our critics. We're moving ahead." He added, "1988 will be a year of great accomplishments of our goals."
He said that of all his accomplishments, he and his wife, Nancy, were "proudest of what we've done to change attitudes about the use of drugs. It's no longer fashionable to use drugs, and I'd also like to say by the end of my Administration, drugs are no longer tolerated."
Reagan was greeted with prolonged cheers and applause before listing what his Administration had achieved in terms of economic expansion, a new arms agreement with the Soviets and a reduced role of government.
Reagan said he expected there would be another summit meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev "in the near future." A summit is expected to take place in late May in Moscow.
He also said the United States would continue to back the Nicaraguan rebels "who are willing to put their lives on the line."
In his concluding remarks Reagan said, "As they say in show biz, let's bring them to their feet in our closing act."
Reagan will spend the next few days preparing for his State of the Union address Monday to a joint session of Congress and setting the stage for one of the few remaining ideological battles of his presidency: a renewed bid for tens of millions of dollars in military aid to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels.
Reagan will touch base this week not only with pro-Contra forces, but also offer a pledge of continued moral support to leaders of the anti-abortion movement, some of whom have charged a lack of presidential effort on their behalf.
By all accounts, Reagan's agenda for the next year is a modest one. His State of the Union address, in the past a forum for announcing ambitious policy initiatives, this year will be largely devoid of far-reaching new proposals.
What Reagan is banking on in the final year of his presidency is Senate ratification of the treaty on Intermediate Nuclear Forces, as well as a possible agreement on reductions in strategic arms.