Bush, Lawmakers Meet on Iraq War Funding on the Deadliest Day in Baghdad Since the “Surge” Began
Protesters Outside White House Urge End to War as Meeting Goes on Inside
The stalemate between Congress and the President continued as they met in the White House on Wednesday, April 18, 2007. In Baghdad a reported 178 people died and many more were wounded on the deadliest day since the Bush “security plan” began. Outside the White House, scores of protesters called for an end to the war and the closure of Guantanamo Bay with more than a dozen arrested chaining themselves to the White House fence.
Several groups of protesters and peace movement leaders were outside. Cindy Sheehan noted the flag at half mast for the killings at Virginia Tech should be at half mast every day for the deaths in Iraq. Marine Mom Tina Richards hoped to get a chance to ask Nancy Pelosi whether she would meet with military families and others affected by the war or continue to arrest them. A protest organized by the Catholic Workers included two dozen people in orange jump suits wearing black hoods who chained themselves to the White House fence. Outside the cordoned off area of the Guantanamo Bay protesters were CODE PINK “police” blowing whistles and shouting in bull horns that the Democrats should not buy Bush’s war.
Inside the Associated Press reports President Bush sat between Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid but neither side was ready to compromise. Bush seemed to hope that the House and Senate would compromise with each other and weaken their resolve. But, the Democratic leadership, for now, seems to be holding firm. The full Associate Press article about the meeting is below.
Standoff continues as Bush, Democrats meet
By Ben Feller, Associated Press
President Bush met with congressional leaders on Wednesday over a disputed war funding bill and acknowledged that there were strong differences of opinion about how to proceed in Iraq.
"We're going to have a very good discussion," Bush said in the Cabinet Room. "People have strong opinions around the table. I'm looking forward to listening to them. I've got my own opinion, which I'm more than willing to share."
Bush, who sat between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, met with leaders of both parties as majority Democrats worked at drafting compromise legislation that provides war funding the president wants but also is certain to include troop-withdrawal timelines that he has vowed to veto.
The sit-down came on the same day that four large bombs exploded in mostly Shiite areas of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 178 people and wounding scores _ the deadliest day in the city since the start of the U.S.-Iraqi campaign to pacify the capital two months ago.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, traveling in the Mideast, called it "horrifying."
The White House said Bush would not negotiate. Republican lawmakers predicted Democrats will be forced to cave. Democratic leaders said they will not give ground in forcing a change in war policy, buoyed by public opinion running heavily against Bush's leadership.
The House-passed bill requires the withdrawal of combat troops by Sept. 1, 2008. The Senate measure is weaker, requiring the beginning of a withdrawal within 120 days, and setting a nonbinding goal of March 2008, for completion.