President Bush has hailed democratic progress in Iraq, but acknowledged about 30-thousand Iraqis have been killed since U.S. forces invaded the country in 2003.
Mr. Bush's estimate of the Iraqi death toll came in response to a question following his third speech in recent weeks on Iraq to boost American public support for the war.
In a statement, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Mr. Bush was citing media reports estimating Iraqi casualties. He said it was not an official U.S. government death toll. During the speech in Philadelphia Monday,
President Bush said 2005 will be remembered as a "turning point" for the country and for the Middle East. Democratic Senator Carl Levin -- in a response to the president's address -- said the president should make the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq conditional on Iraqis working together politically.