President Bush Affirms U.S. Policy on Hamas
H: I have made it very clear, however, that a political party that articulates, uh, the destruction of Israel as part of its platform, is a party with which we will not deal.
: President Bush, speaking earlier this morning at the White House. Joining me now from the White House is NPR's Don Gonyea. Don, this election result, upset victory of Hamas over the ruling Fatah movement, clearly not what the Bush Administration expected.
DON GONYEA: Today, though, when asked if he would work with the Hamas-led Palestinian government, he said, well, they have yet to actually form a government. So, he carefully avoids the question. He wants to see what that government will look like. But he does say that Hamas must renounce violence.
: The President has called for a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians. What does the Hamas victory mean for that effort?
GONYEA: He pointed out that he's advocated that from very early on in his presidency. And he also said that process will continue. But, again, this unexpected election development has the administration now scrambling to adjust and to figure out how to proceed.
: The President also spoke this morning about another subject, the controversy over his domestic spying program. Let's listen to a bit of what he had to say.
BUSH: As I stand here right now, I can tell the American people, the program's legal. It's designed to protect civil liberties, and it's necessary.
: Don, the President has been defending this domestic eavesdropping all week. Did he say anything new this morning?
GONYEA: He got a bit testy, saying that if the question includes the word circumventing, he says, that implies he's going around the law, which, again, he insists he's not doing. So that's their story that they're really sticking to.
: And a good part of that news conference was taken up with questions about a certain lobbyist.
GONYEA: The White House has refused to release them. The President says they're not relevant to the ongoing investigation. He says that he didn't know Abramoff, and he says he gets his pictures taken with lots of people.
: Don, thanks very much.
GONYEA: My pleasure.
: That's NPR's Don Gonyea at the White House. And this is NPR News.
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