Bush to give nationally televised speech on Iraq

Saturday, October 5, 2002

BOSTON -- In the run-up to key congressional votes, President Bush will argue his case against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in a rare evening speech Monday.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the speech, in Cincinnati, Ohio, will be newsworthy, but he stopped short of calling it a major address and did not promise any new policy or evidence about Saddam's wrongdoings.

Fleischer said the White House will not request the networks to carry the 8 p.m. EDT speech and he noted that it is not a formal Oval Office address -- both clear signals that Bush will not use the speech to outline any military action against Iraq.

Indeed, Fleischer compared the address to one that Bush gave in Atlanta earlier this year in which the president outlined plans to bolster the nation's homeland security efforts. That speech did not contain any new policy.

Fleischer said Bush will use the address to synthesize the U.S. case against Saddam as Congress prepares to vote on resolutions authorizing the use of military action against Iraq. U.S. diplomats are negotiating for a United Nations resolution.

"The president thinks as Congress begins the debate ... it's important and it's helpful to members of Congress of both parties to hear what the president thinks," he said. "The president believes it is a way to communicate to members of Congress and to communicate to the country."

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