Bush Juggles Schedules, Tough Issues

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When President Bush travels overseas later this week, he will be getting away from some tough domestic issues, says NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr. But the president will be faced with difficult diplomatic problems, including the situations with Iran and North Korea.


President Bush plans to leave on Wednesday to head for the G8 summit in St. Petersburg. He'll stop along the way in Germany to visit with Chancellor Angela Merkel. NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Bush is looking forward to his trip.

DANIEL SCHORR reporting:

If you want to know why presidents enjoy summits, it's often because of the heavy workload they leave behind.

Some delicate diplomacy faces President Bush in St. Petersburg. President Vladimir Putin, who presides for the first time over the meeting of the G8 leaders, has been less than fully supportive of America's effort to maintain pressure on Iran and North Korea on the issue or armaments.

But meanwhile, back home, Congress has returned from its Independence Day recess with a formidable array of issues to be addressed before the scheduled adjournment at the end of August.

There is, first of all, the question of how to deal with Guantanamo detainees in order to meet Supreme Court requirements. That debate alone could consume the rest of the summer, and Mr. Bush has promised to cooperate with Congress.

Then there is the immigration issue. A series of hearings in San Diego, Laredo and Philadelphia have brought Congress no closer to resolving deep differences over how punitive to be with illegal immigrants.

Then there's the issue raised by Peter Hoekstra, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, of the administration's failure to give proper notice to congressional committees of a significant intelligence program.

And then a medley of bills: human cloning, pledge of allegiance, gay marriage, abortion, and that is all before we get to appropriations for Homeland Security and defense.

Most of these issues will be waiting for the president when he comes back from his high level diplomacy, but let me just mention, the Neva River in St. Petersburg is beautiful this time of year.

This is Daniel Schorr.

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