Bush Faces Defining Moment

"Make no mistake, this was an act of war against the United States and all of our people, and we will not be divided," House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., one of Bush's most outspoken Capitol Hill critics, said in a statement on the House floor this morning. "The president, the Congress and the American people are … totally and completely united."

Bush met with congressional leaders at the White House today, as the House and Senate prepared to pass a joint resolution to condemn the attacks, express sympathy for the victims and "support the determination of the president … to bring to justice and punish the perpetrators of these attacks as well as their sponsors."

Former President Clinton told reporters today he agreed with what Bush said in his "fine address to the country" Tuesday evening, adding, "I think it's absolutely imperative that the American people demonstrate to the whole world our unity."

'Cool, Calm and Determined,' Say Experts

Political and foreign policy experts also give Bush high marks for his handling of the crisis.

"We don't get leadership challenges bigger than this one and, so far, I don't think any American could complain about the response from the president," said Ornstein. "He has been cool, calm and determined."

"His performance to date throughout the crisis has been excellent," said Nick Lardy, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "He's been firmly in control, spoken very clearly on the issues and, most importantly, has not been part of any rush to judgment, but has set a very methodical path for the United States to follow."

Experts say difficult decisions likely lie ahead for Bush, who will be under heavy pressure to follow through on his promise to "conquer the enemy" responsible for Tuesday's attacks.

"This will be a monumental struggle of good vs. evil," the president said this morning. "But good will prevail."

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