WASHINGTON (CNN) — After seeking to rally Americans with his State of the Union address, President Bush set out Wednesday to push his agenda in a two-day tour of three Southeastern states. {{more}}

Traveling to North Carolina, Florida and Georgia, the president is expected to promote education, security, health and volunteerism initiatives that he announced Tuesday night.

In his first State of the Union address, Bush urged Americans to be patient with the war on terrorism, to be steadfast in the protection of the United States and to know that creating new jobs is the best cure for the U.S. economy wounded by September 11.

Despite the nation being at war and struggling in a recession, “the state of our union has never been stronger,” Bush told a joint session of Congress.

The president also warned that “our war against terror is only beginning.” And he emphasized that homeland security must be strengthened because thousands of terrorists remain at large.

“Most of the 19 men who hijacked planes on September 11 were trained in Afghanistan’s camps, and so were tens of thousands of others,” Bush said.

“Thousands of dangerous killers, schooled in the methods of murder, often supported by outlaw regimes, are now spread throughout the world like ticking time bombs — set to go off without warning,” he said.

The president saluted Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai, who was present in the House of Representatives gallery, saying Afghanistan and the United States are now “allies against terror.”

Bush also acknowledged the widow of CIA operative Johnny Micheal “Mike” Spann, the first American killed in combat in Afghanistan. Shannon Spann was sitting with first lady Laura Bush.

“Shannon, I assure you and all who have lost a loved one that our cause is just, and our country will never forget the debt we owe Micheal and all who gave their lives for freedom,” he said.

The president pledged America would continue to be “steadfast, patient and persistent” in completing two objectives of the war on terror:

— Shutting down terrorists’ camps, disrupting their activities and bringing them to justice.

— Preventing terrorists and regimes “who seek chemical, biological or nuclear weapons from threatening the United States and the world.”

The president singled out North Korea, Iran and Iraq for seeking weapons of mass destruction.

“States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world,” he said, adding the civilized world must act because the “price of indifference would be catastrophic.”