Bush Appeals to Nation on Iraq

The report cites 'satisfactory' progress in terms of elections, even though elections have yet to be held and no date has been set.

Iraq Strategy Part of 'Broader Vision' for Middle East

The president explained his Iraq strategy as part of a larger policy in the Middle East.

"If we were to be driven out of Iraq, extremists of all strains would be emboldened. Al Qaeda could gain new recruits and new sanctuaries. Iran would benefit from the chaos and would be encouraged in its efforts to gain nuclear weapons and dominate the region," Bush said.

"Extremists could control a key part of the global energy supply. Iraq could face a humanitarian nightmare. Democracy movements would be violently reversed. We would leave our children to face a far more dangerous world. And as we saw on September the 11th, 2001, those dangers can reach our cities and kill our people," he said.

During a lunch with network anchors attended by ABC News' Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos Thursday afternoon, Bush explained that the Iraqi government has said they want U.S. troops in Iraq on a long-term basis.

Bush made clear that the U.S. will have an enduring presence in Iraq, that will go beyond his presidency, but he does not necessarily envision permanent U.S. bases in that country.

Bush's Eighth Appeal to Nation on Iraq

The president's address comes after a week of testimony on Capitol Hill by Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military official in Iraq and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, the top diplomat -- telling lawmakers that the troop surge strategy in the United States has had uneven success.

It's Bush's eighth prime time address on Iraq since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

The president faced an American public increasingly skeptical about the war that the four-year-old conflict is making the country safer -- something the top U.S. military general in Iraq had trouble doing on Capitol Hill this week when he said he didn't know whether the Iraq War strategy would make America any safer.

The president must also shore up support among Republican senators who have voiced frustration with the lack of progress in Iraq.

Democrats in Congress lack the 60 votes necessary in the Senate to force the president to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq. The Senate majority leader is attempting to woo those Republicans to force the president to fundamentally change course.

Democratic Rebuttal to Bush Address

Democrats responded to the president's address by arguing his latest strategy is a continuation of a flawed policy in Iraq that is making the nation less secure.

"The President's Iraq policies have worsened America's security. Hundreds of billions have been spent. Our military is strained. Over 27,000 Americans have been wounded, and over 3,700 of our best and brightest have been killed," Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island said in a nationally televised rebuttal.

"Tonight, a nation eager for change in Iraq heard the President speak about his plans for the future. But once again, the President failed to provide either a plan to successfully end the war or a convincing rationale to continue it," Reed said.

Among the clamor to assail Bush, one of the candidates running to replace Bush has found a unique way to be heard.

Democratic presidential candidate, former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., bought two minutes of air time on MSNBC, that aired after Bush's televised address from the White House.

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