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Bush Set to Speak on Iraq as Pressure For Change Mounts in Congress


10 July 2007

Administration officials say President Bush plans to assure Americans that he wants to begin bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq eventually.

Mr. Bush is giving a speech in the midwestern state of Ohio later Tuesday, and is expected to outline his strategy for Iraq after a recent troop build-up. The White House says Mr. Bush is not going to announce a change of course. And it warns that expectations should be low concerning an interim report on Iraq that the administration must give to Congress by July 15.

The president is facing increasing pressure from members of his own Republican Party as the Senate debates military spending this week. Republican Senator Olympia Snowe said today she would not be surprised to see more of her Republican colleagues demand a phased withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq.

Three senior Republican senators, Richard Lugar, George Voinovich and Pete Domenici, have announced they can no longer support the president on Iraq, and they called on him to begin drawing down U.S. forces there.

A new poll shows opposition to the Iraq war at its highest level ever in the United States.

The poll by USA Today and Gallup surveyed more than one thousand Americans between Friday and Sunday. Of those, more than 70 percent favor removing nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq by April.

Only one in five said the increase in U.S. forces in Iraq since January has made any difference.

The poll also showed President Bush's approval rating has dropped to 29 percent, down from 33 percent in early June. It had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Democratic Party leaders in the Senate plan to introduce amendments to the Defense Department budget authorization bill. One amendment would cut off funding for combat operations in Iraq after April of next year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.



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