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Bush Consulting with Congressional Leaders Over Iraq - 2002-09-03

President Bush meets with Congressional leaders Wednesday to discuss Iraq. Top Republicans and Democrats from both the House and Senate are expected to attend.

The president has vowed to consult with congress on Iraq. White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer noted this meeting is a step in that process.

"This is part of the president reaching out and consulting," he said. "This is the president reaching out and leading. This is the president reaching out and listening."

Among the congressional leaders invited to the meeting are House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Also planning to attend are the chairmen and top opposition party members of key committees that deal with defense and foreign affairs.

They are expected to review the situation in Iraq and various options for dealing with Baghdad.

President Bush has said that Iraq's desire to develop and acquire weapons of mass destruction poses a threat to America and the world. Aides stress he has not decided to use force, but congressional critics have been urging the White House to prepare the legislature and the public for the possibility of military action.