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Analysis: President Bush Discussing National Security And Pressing Congress To Act On His Defense Appropriations Bill

Weekend Edition Saturday: September 28, 2002

Diplomatic Moves On Iraq


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

President Bush continues to call on the United Nations and the US Congress to support his campaign to remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Yesterday, during a fund-raising tour out West, Mr. Bush said he wanted to give peace a chance, but that in the end, the United States had to act to guarantee its own safety. NPR's Don Gonyea reports from the White House.

DON GONYEA reporting:

The president's business trip had a twofold mission yesterday: raise money for the midterm elections for Republican candidates in Arizona and Colorado, and keep up the pressure for action against Iraq. In Denver, at an event for political newcomer Bob Beauprez, who's running for a newly created congressional seat, Mr. Bush said that the United Nations must take strong action to require that Iraq comply with UN security resolutions passed over the last decade. `If it doesn't,' the president said, `the United States is prepared to act with the help of its friends to confront Saddam Hussein.'

President GEORGE W. BUSH: I'm willing to give peace a chance to work. I want the United Nations to work. I want him to do what he said he would do, but for the sake of our future, now's the time. Now's the time. For the sake of your children's future we must make sure this madman never has the capacity to hurt us with a nuclear weapon.

GONYEA: The president also criticized the US Senate, which is at odds with the White House over what rights workers would have in the proposed new Department of Homeland Security. And yesterday, he voiced frustration over Congress' inability to reach a final agreement over the new defense budget.

Pres. BUSH: I've got a problem, however. The defense budget I submitted hadn't made it to my desk yet. Here we are trying to defend the homeland and it's stuck. The House passed it. The Senate passed it. Now it's time for the leadership in Washington, DC, to get the defense bill to my desk before they go home. It's an important signal to send, and they ought to stop playing politics with defense appropriations at this time in American history.


GONYEA: The president is spending the weekend at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, where he'll be in touch with Republican leaders in Congress who are negotiating with Democrats over the exact wording of the resolution authorizing force against Iraq. On Monday, Mr. Bush heads back to Washington where next week Congress is expected to begin its debate on that resolution. Don Gonyea, NPR News, the White House.

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