U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton has called on Iraq's parliament to replace Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki because she says he is unable to resolve differences between rival political factions.
Clinton said in a statement Wednesday that the Maliki government is nonfunctional because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders. She urged the parliament to replace Mr. Maliki with what she called a "less divisive and more unifying figure."
Her comments echoed a call made on Monday by the Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, for Mr. Maliki to leave office.
Earlier Wednesday, President Bush offered renewed support for Mr. Maliki in a speech, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in the midwestern city of Kansas City, Missouri.
Mr. Bush said the prime minister is a "good man with a difficult job." He also said it is up to the people of Iraq, not politicians in Washington, to decide if Mr. Maliki will remain in power.
But Mr. Bush said he understands that many are frustrated by the slow pace of political progress in Iraq.
In Wednesday's speech, President Bush compared the conflict in Iraq to past U.S. military efforts in Asia. He likened Islamic extremists to Japanese militarists during World War Two, and communists in Korea and Vietnam during the Cold War.
Opposition Democrats say the president is wrong to compare Iraq with past conflicts in Asia and he is ignoring fundamental differences.
In a written statement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Bush administration misled the American people into war under the false pretense of weapons of mass destruction.