Bush Praises Iraq's New Leader;
President Bush talked today about his meetings in Baghdad with the new Iraqi government, in which he encouraged Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to seize the opportunity to stabilize his country.
Fresh from his surprise visit to the Iraqi capital, the president held a previously unannounced news conference in the White House Rose Garden.
Recognizing that there are those who have doubts about Maliki's government, President Bush said he had been able to size up the Iraq, leader and his Cabinet officials on the trip. "That's why I went," the president said. "I've eliminated that uncertainty. I was able to sit with the man and talk to him I was also pleased to meet with his cabinet."
But not all of the questions were about Iraq this morning. The president was also asked about his top aide Karl Rove, and the three-year CIA leak investigation. Rove learned Tuesday that he would not face criminal charges in the case. But it is known that in 2003, Rove spoke to journalists about the identity of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame.
President Bush was asked if he approved of Rove's conduct. But he spoke instead of the prosecutor's decision. "I, obviously, along with others in the White House, took a sigh of relief when he made the decision he made," the president said.
The President rebuffed an attempt at a follow up question on Rove, noting that legal proceedings in the CIA leak case are still under way. He was referring to the upcoming trial of another senior White House aide, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who was indicted by the special prosecutor.
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