Bush tries to cool tempers over Iraq - Yahoo! News

BEIJING (Reuters) - U.S.
President George W. Bush on Sunday all but apologized to a hawkish Democrat who the White House had called a liberal like American moviemaker Michael Moore for demanding an immediate U.S. pullout from

Bush, dogged by questions about Iraq during a week-long Asia tour, tried to cool partisan tempers in Washington that flared over the withdrawal demand by Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record). One Republican had called Murtha a coward.

"Congressman Murtha is a fine man, a good man who served our country with honor and distinction as a Marine in Vietnam and as a U.S. congressman," Bush said.

He did not repeat the White House accusation that Murtha was from the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party like Moore, the "Fahrenheit 9/11" filmmaker who is a liberal celebrity loathed by American conservatives.

"I know that the decision to call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops by congressman Murtha was done in a careful and thoughtful way. I disagree with his position," Bush said.

Many Democrats have called on Bush to present a plan to end the war and an estimate of when U.S. forces can start to be withdrawn based on conditions on the ground. Only a few have called for a set timetable for withdrawal.

Murtha has said Iraq cannot be won militarily and the United States must withdraw to send a signal to Iraqis that they are "free from the United States occupation."

Murtha's opposition broadened a partisan divide in Washington and prompted the Republican-led House of Representatives to engineer a vote on Friday on a resolution to pull U.S. troops immediately from Iraq.

It was defeated nearly unanimously in what Democrats called a political stunt.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll this week said 63 percent of Americans oppose Bush's handling of the Iraq war, and 52 percent say troops should be pulled out now or within 12 months.

Bush tries to cool tempers over Iraq - Yahoo! News


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