Bush Urges Patience on Iraq, Speed in Lebanon
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
Shortly before that terror announcement, President Bush held a news conference today and it included this declaration.
President GEORGE W. BUSH: I'm a thoughtful guy. I listen to people. I'm open-minded. I'm all the things that you know I am.
INSKEEP: It was a quick aside on his way to a larger point, but the remark touches on a subject of some concern to the White House. NPR's Don Gonyea was at the briefing. What's the president been doing, Don?
DON GONYEA reporting:
Well, the president has been meeting with advisors, foreign policy advisors. He's been meeting with Republican leaders, and what they are really trying to do is get a handle on how to present what's going on in Iraq, what's going on in Lebanon, as part of a big picture to the American public to really justify where the administration has been - has been going in both cases.
INSKEEP: Now, the President made that remark on the way to saying that he's taking the advice of fellow Republicans, which leads to another story. What was the advice?
GONYEA: Well, the advice was that, in the case of the Connecticut Senate race, where Joe Lieberman, a Democrat but a backer of the president in the war, is running as an independent. The president said he is going to stay out of Connecticut. He won't be up there campaigning for Lieberman.
INSKEEP: And then there's Israel and Lebanon, another subject covered today. A reporter noted that Israel violated the cease-fire over the weekend after their more than a month-long war. And the reporter asked, why do you always give Israel a pass?
GONYEA: Right. The president had also noted that it was, you know, Hezbollah rockets that have destroyed, you know, much of the infrastructure in northern Israel. He also talked about destruction in southern Lebanon but didn't mention that - that - Israeli rockets, and the Israeli bombings that have been responsible for that. So that's where the why give them a pass. But let's listen to the president's response on that.
President BUSH: The world must understand that now is the time to come together to address the root cause of the problem, and the problem is you have a state within a state, you had people launch attacks on a sovereign nation without the consent of the government.
GONYEA: And again, Steve, the president said that the international peacekeeping force needs to get in there. It needs to have a very robust mission.
INSKEEP: Don, thanks very much.
GONYEAH: My pleasure.
INSKEEP: That's NPR White House correspondent Don Gonyea speaking after President Bush gave a news conference this morning.
And the other story we're following this morning, terror suspects in London have been charged. Eleven of about two dozen original suspects have now been charged with a variety of crimes. And we'll bring you more on both stories as we learn more.
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