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President Bush to Visit New York Friday - 2001-09-13


President Bush is vowing to lead the world to victory over terrorism. He is also making plans to go to New York Friday for a first-hand look at the damage done when two hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center.

The President says he wants to weep and mourn with America. But he also says he is determined to track down and punish those responsible for the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

During a telephone conversation with the Governor of New York State and the Mayor of New York City, Mr. Bush promised action to help the victims and combat terrorism. "I wish I could comfort every single family that has been affected," he said. "But make no mistake about it, my resolve is steady and strong."

The President told reporters after the conference call that he has found great support overseas. He said he has talked to a number of world leaders. Among them: the Prime Ministers of Japan, Britain, and Canada and the Presidents of China, Russia, and France. "And there is universal support for the American people, sadness in their voices, but understanding that we have just seen the first war of the 21st century," said President Bush. "And there is universal approval of the statements I have made and I am confident there is universal approval of the actions this government takes."

The Bush administration talks about "coalition building," but White House officials will not say if there is any joint military planning underway. The President said some things are best kept secret for the time being, including information obtained by investigators. "I will not discuss the intelligence that our country has gathered," he said.

But the president's spokesman is releasing some information about a possible terrorist threat against the presidential jet, Air Force One.

Ari Fleischer confirms the Secret Service which handles White House security - got a telephone call Tuesday morning shortly after a hijacked plane hit the Pentagon. He said the caller declared "Air Force One is next" and used code words related to the president's plane.

President Bush was preparing to board the aircraft at the time to return to Washington from Sarasota, Florida. His jet was diverted to air force bases in Louisiana and Nebraska before security officials said it was safe to return to the White House Tuesday evening.