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Bush Defends Decision to Halt US Troop Withdrawals From Iraq

President Bush is defending his decision to halt troop withdrawals from Iraq while military leaders assess how a reduced American presence will affect security there.

During his weekly radio address Saturday, the president said America must stand with the Iraqi government as it makes the transition to responsibility for its own security and political affairs.

Mr. Bush said a U.S. troop surge 15 months ago has significantly improved security.

He said he has given the U.S. commander in Iraq all the time he needs to decide if security conditions are stable enough to continue withdrawing U.S. troops.

Meanwhile, U.S. Representative John Yarmuth blamed the cost of the Iraq war for America's sluggish economy.

In the Democrats' weekly radio address Saturday, Yarmuth said money being spent on the war should instead be used to deal with pressing needs at home.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.