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Republicans Say Bush to Retain Focus Despite Leak Probe, Libby Indictment


Republican leaders say President Bush will continue to focus on his policy agenda, following the indictment of a senior White House aide in the probe of who leaked a covert CIA operative's identity.

Ken Mehlman, who is chairman of Mr. Bush's party, said the president will continue focusing on fighting terrorism and strengthening the U.S. economy, which he described as priorities of the American people.

A federal grand jury Friday indicted Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, Lewis Libby, as part of the probe into who revealed the name of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame. Mr. Libby, who has since resigned, faces five counts of perjury, making false statements and obstruction of justice.

Ms. Plame's identity appeared in news reports two years ago after her husband, diplomat Joseph Wilson, criticized the Bush administration's case to justify the Iraq war.

Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean called the indictment a sad day for America. He also said it is the consequence of White House efforts to, in his words, "smear" a critic of the war.

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