WASHINGTON - President George Bush, left, seeking to sell a sceptical congress and American public on the unpopular war in Iraq, warned in his state of the union speech this week that failure in Iraq would be "grievous and far-reaching", and pleaded with lawmakers to support him in a battle to quash terrorism around the globe.
With new Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seated behind him in the house chamber - a reminder that he can no longer rely on a Republican congressional majority to approve his agenda - Bush also urged bi-partisan cooperation to deal with critical issues, including energy, education, and healthcare. He offered new proposals to help Americans buy their own health insurance and to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.
On Iraq, Bush called for unity on a war that has bitterly divided the US people and spurred an angry uproar from lawmakers in both parties frustrated by the slow progress of the nearly four-year-long effort.
"The evil that inspired and rejoiced in 9/11 is still at work in the world. So long as that is the case, America is still a nation at war," Bush said.
In perhaps an acknowledgement of complaints that he does not consult the legislative branch on the war, Bush proposed a special "advisory council on the war on terror", which he said would consist of congressional leaders from both parties. - Sapa