Bush Faces Tough Week After Europe Trip

Set to wrap his eight-day visit to Europe, where he received a hero's reception in tiny Albania, President Bush faces a Washington that holds little good news for him.

The president said Monday from Bulgaria that his stalled immigration overhaul would be revived and his embattled attorney general would not fall under a Senate vote of no-confidence.

"I believe we can get it done," Bush said of the immigration bill that has run into deep trouble on Capitol Hill. "I'll see you at the bill signing."

Warmly welcomed in both Bulgaria and Albania, the president spoke at a news conference with Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov on the last stop of his eight-day trip in Europe. Bush said he would make a trip to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to lobby lawmakers in person on immigration

On Monday, the Senate will debate a non-binding resolution that one of his most trusted confidantes, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, "no longer holds the confidence of the Senate and the American people."

On Sunday, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said, "If every senator could take a secret vote and not be subject to White House pressure, I'll bet Attorney General Gonzales would not get more than three or four votes."

Regardless of how the Senate votes, the White House says Bush will ignore it, and will move on to another headache: Trying to revive immigration reform after efforts at a compromise collapsed late last week.

Although many Democrats admitted privately that it was not all the president's fault, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., tried to shift the blame onto Bush, accusing him of weak leadership, saying, "The headline is going to be: Democrats vote to continue this bill, the Republicans vote against it, the president fails again."

Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution said the immigration issue may be the president's "last chance" to push through a major domestic initiative. This week Bush will try again to win over Republicans who oppose anything that smells to them like amnesty for illegal aliens.

Republican support for the Iraq war is also shaky, a major reason why the president reluctantly chose not to nominate Gen. Peter Pace for another term as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Even Republicans who back the war, such as Sen. John McCain, are critical of how it has been run.

"Look, this war was mismanaged," McCain told George Stephanopoulos Sunday on ABC News' "This Week." "We all know that. We are paying a heavy price for it and great sacrifice."

Even though as a lame-duck president, Bush may seem politically weak at the moment, no one is saying he has become irrelevant. After some made that mistake with Bill Clinton in the mid-'90s after Democrats lost control of Congress, Clinton showed he was still relevant by vetoing Republican legislation.

"Mr. Bush has the power to stop things, but it is a negative power," said Mann of the Brookings Institution. "It will be very difficult, maybe impossible, for him to succeed with any new agendas of his own."

The president not only has the power of the veto, he is also commander-in-chief during a time of war, and for the next 19 months that alone makes him very relevant.

Jennifer Lovan of the Associated Press contributed to this story

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