President Bush says his new thinking on Iraq is taking shape as he
nears completion of a review of U.S. strategy there following his
Republican Party's losses in November legislative elections.
Following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel this past
week, Mr. Bush said he will set clear goals for success in Iraq.
"One thing for certain I will want to make sure that the mission
is clear and specific and can be accomplished," said Mr. Bush.
With opposition Democrats now in charge of both houses of Congress,
they are criticizing the idea of a temporary troop surge even before the
president unveils his plan.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said adding to the more than 140,000
U.S. troops already in Iraq would be a serious mistake.
troops and their families have already sacrificed a great deal for Iraq,"
he said. "They have done their part. It's time for the Iraqis to do their
In the Democratic radio address broadcast on Saturday, Reid said the
president should start pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq in the next four to
President Bush met with senators Friday to discuss his plans for Iraq
and reportedly told them he would only approve a temporary troop surge if
the Iraqi government offers certain guarantees.
Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu was in that meeting. She says many
legislators from both parties are concerned about sending more troops to
"It's not only that many Democrats have some questions about that, many
Republicans have questions about a troop surge, which has been expressed
in this meeting and outside of this meeting and all around the country,"
Public opinion polls show a majority of Americans now believe the war
in Iraq was a mistake.
While most Republican legislators are waiting to hear what the
president has to say about Iraq, some, including Senator Susan Collins and
Congresswoman Heather Wilson, are publicly opposed to a troop surge.
White House officials say the president understands those reservations.
In the president's weekly radio address, he pledged to work with
Democratic leaders in Congress on a new budget and on efforts to improve
education. But there was no mention of Iraq.
The president will continue consulting with members of Congress in the
coming week before his nationwide address on Iraq.