President Reagan, confessing that leaving office was a "bittersweet experience," will give a televised farewell address to the American people tonight at 7.
Reagan's address was to be about 20 minutes in length and very personal in nature, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater told reporters."We expect it to be a very personal kind of look at what President Reagan tried to do, and what he sees as his accomplishments and the problems ahead," Fitzwater said.
Asked Tuesday how he felt about stepping down after two four-year terms as U.S. leader the constitutional limit, Reagan said: "It's a bettersweet experience."
"The sweet part is California," he said referring to the adopted home state he will return to after transferring power to George Bush Jan. 20.
But Reagan, who turns 78 on Feb. 6 added that it was "not easy to say farewell to the great many people who worked side-by-side with you for the last eight years." He was host for a private dinner for his Cabinet Tuesday night.
As Reagan Prepared his final summation -he gave a pair of domestic and foreign policy speeches last mnoth that were also billed as farewell addresses-reminders of his looming depature were easy to find at the White House.
Workmen spent much of Tuesday loading Reagan's official papers into a large moving van parked outside the Executive Mansion.
On Pennsylvania Avenue, in front of the White House, construction crews have virtually completed the reviewing stands for Bush's inaugural parade in nine days.
Inside the presidential complex, Reagon aides have been packing their own personal belongings and removing pictures from office walls.
Kenneth Duberstein, the White House chief of staff, said on NBC's "Today" program Wednesday the speech is intended to be "a personal conversation that the president really wants to have with the American public."
Duberstein predicted the address would include "a little bit of nostalgia, pointing to the accomplishments, pointing to some of the vision that Ronald Reagan brought to the Oval Office and to the presidency in 1981 and some vision that he has for continuing the Reagan revolution."
"I think you're going to hear some anecdotes and some stories, but you're going to hear Ronald Reagan talking about how fundamentally America has been changed," Duberstein said.