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Bush to Discuss War on Terrorism During Congressional Address

President Bush goes before a joint session of the U.S. Congress Thursday evening to talk about the war on terrorism. The nationally broadcast address comes nine days after attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

The President says the American people have questions, and they deserve answers.

He says they want to know who would wage these kinds of bloody attacks on innocent civilians and they want to know why.

"I owe it to the country to give an explanation and I want to thank the Congress for giving me a chance," the president said. "I can't think of a better place to talk about freedom and the battle to maintain freedom than one of the greatest halls of freedom."

The President says he will tell the nation life will never be the same in the wake of the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history. He says he will assure the American public that the government is alert and dealing with the terrorist threat.

"Life around the White House or around the Congress is not normal. It is not the way it used to be because we are very aware that people have conducted an act of war on our country," Mr. Bush said.

Security will be extremely tight for the speech. Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon originally wanted to slam a hijacked plane into the Capitol Building as well.

White House officials say the President wants to talk at length about those attacks and the nature of the threat now facing the United States. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice says he will not detail a plan for military retaliation.

"He is going to talk about what Americans can do to prepare for this effort," she said. "And he is going to talk some about the nature of the support we are getting from around the world, which is really quite extraordinary. I think everybody understood this was not just an attack on America, this was an attack on freedom."

President Bush met Wednesday with the President of Indonesia and the Foreign Ministers of Russia and Germany. He also talked by telephone with the leaders of South Korea and South Africa.

Mr. Bush told reporters countries are contributing to the war on terrorism in various ways. He said some provide overt aid, while others help in secret.

"The message to every country is there will be a campaign against terrorist activity, a worldwide campaign," President Bush said. "And there is an outpouring of support for such a campaign."

Mr. Bush will continue his coalition building efforts Thursday. He will meet with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the White House immediately before heading for Capitol Hill.