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Bush Speech To Focus on Iraq, Economy - 2003-01-26


President Bush will try to build support for action against Iraq and his handling of the nation's economy when he makes his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Speaking today (Sunday) on C-N-N's "Late Edition," White House Communciations Director Dan Bartlett said Mr. Bush will stress that Saddam Hussein has a relationship with terrorist organizations, and that the United States cannot wait to the last minute to do something about it.

Earlier, Mr. Bartlett said the speech will not contain a declaration of war against Iraq. But he said the president will assert that efforts to end the U-S-Iraqi stand-off are in what he called the "last diplomatic phase."

The speech comes as the United States threatens to go to war with Iraq over its failure to give up its weapons of mass destruction.

Speaking on several U-S Sunday talk shows, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card said the speech will also cover domestic issues, including the president's economic plan.

President Bush promoted the 674-billion dollar plan in his weekly radio address Saturday, saying it will lay the foundation for future prosperity. The proposal includes the acceleration of a 10-year tax cut plan that Congress approved in 2001.

Speaking today on the C-B-S program "Face the Nation," Senate minority leader Tom Daschle said an alternative Democratic plan is more fiscally responsible and does more to help U-S states facing budget deficits.

He also said that before going to war with Iraq, the president needs to make a compelling case that Saddam Hussein poses an imminent threat to the United States, and that all other options to deal with the crisis have been exhausted.

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