President Bush has urged Iraqis to vote in national elections next Sunday, saying they should defy terrorists who he says are afraid of a free society. Mr. Bush made the remarks on Wednesday during his first news conference since his inauguration for a second term last week.
The president called the Iraqi elections a "grand moment" in the country's history. He strongly dismissed questions about whether the ongoing violence in that country indicates democracy is not taking hold. Wanted terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has vowed to disrupt the January 30th vote in Iraq, pledging to attack polling stations. Mr. Bush used today's news conference to repeat the major theme of his inaugural address last week -- that he believes American freedom is enhanced by spreading freedom abroad. The president said he intends to reach out to friends and allies. He said he will remind China to improve human rights and will urge Russia to make democratic reforms.