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Bush Hails New Iraqi Government


President Bush says the formation of a new government in Iraq has dealt terrorists a crippling blow.

President Bush says Iraq's new government is an important milestone on the road to democracy. In his weekly radio address, he said terrorists are resorting to desperate acts of violence, because they know that democracy in Iraq will deny them a safe haven.

"The terrorists clearly recognize the threat that the new unity government poses to their dark plans for Iraq and the broader Middle East," said Mr. Bush. "This week, the terrorist Zarqawi, leader of al Qaida in Iraq, released a video, in which he denounced the new government, and promised further acts of terrorist violence."

President Bush says Iraq's new leaders are showing great courage in the face of terrorist threats, and are determined to lead their nation toward a peaceful future. He says those brave leaders deserve America's continued support, and U.S. troops will help them assume more responsibility for their own national security.

As Iraq makes progress toward a democracy that can govern itself, defend itself, and sustain itself, Mr. Bush says, more U.S. troops can come home.

The formation of a national unity government in Iraq is some welcome good news for the president at a time of falling public support for U.S. involvement there. A USA Today/Gallup poll shows 65 percent of Americans disapprove of the way President Bush is handling the situation in Iraq. Fifty-seven percent now believe it was a mistake to invade the country three years ago.

Eager to show signs of progress, President Bush says helping Iraq build a democracy deals terrorists what he calls a crippling blow. But the fight, he says, is still not finished.

"There will be more tough fighting ahead in Iraq and more days of sacrifice and struggle," he added. "Yet the enemies of freedom have suffered a real blow in recent days, and we have taken great strides on the march to victory."

In the Democratic weekly radio address, the opposition party criticized Republicans for giving oil companies tax breaks at a time of record profits and soaring gas prices.

Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak says Republicans are turning a blind eye to oil industry activities, while consumers struggle with skyrocketing gas prices.

"From this Republican-controlled Congress, we hear more of the same, 'Let's just drill our way to energy independence, sacrifice our environment and provide big tax breaks to Big Oil [companies],'" said Mr. Stupak.

Stupak says Democrats want to roll back some of the $10 billion in tax cuts for oil companies to help pay energy bills for low-income Americans, small businesses and farmers.

President Bush is asking Congress to eliminate $2 billion worth of tax cuts over 10 years, and is calling on oil companies to voluntarily reinvest record profits in new technologies, more exploration and greater refining capacity.

A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll says 70 percent of Americans say higher gas prices are causing them financial hardship. And most are blaming President Bush, with 74 percent disapproving of how he is handling those higher prices.

Democrats hope to pick up seats in November legislative elections by capitalizing on voter anxiety over energy costs.

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