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2003-09-08

Bush in Crisis: Slipping in the Polls, GW Looks to Congress for Money and UN for Troops

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In a nationally televised prime-time address President Bush said that he would ask Congress for $87 billion in emergency spending for Iraq and Afghanistan. We go to Baghdad to hear from Michael Birmingham of Voices in the Wilderness and we speak with American Kurdish Information Network’s Kani Xulam.

In a nationally televised prime-time address last night, President Bush said that he would ask Congress for $87 billion in emergency spending for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that Iraq had now become what he called "the central front" in the campaign against terrorism.

The speech was Bush’s first from the White House since he announced the bombing of Baghdad on March 19. He omitted any mention of how long American troops would remain in Iraq, how much the operation will ultimately cost and the administration’s failure to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Citing Defense Department figures, USA Today is reporting that the monthly bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan now rival the Pentagon’s average monthly spending during Vietnam. That tab doesn’t include reconstruction costs.

Meanwhile, the latest Zogby America poll says that President Bush has dropped to the lowest approval ratings of his presidency. The poll says 54 percent of Americans rated Bush’s performance as fair or poor. Only 40 percent said he deserved to be re-elected.

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