The occasion called for reflection and an attempt to unify the nation in its grief and determination. In fact, it was billed as such by the White House.
Instead, Bush delivered a leaden rehash of his unpersuasive rationales for his response to the threat of terrorism. He made a carefully crafted attempt to terrify Americans into supporting his deeply unpopular war in Iraq. He was misleading. He mischaracterized his critics.
It's hard to imagine that he could have been more divisive if he'd tried. And with most Americans no longer trusting the president, it's hard to imagine the speech served him well.