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Bush postpones Iraq strategy speech

WASHINGTON – Faced with a growing list of recommendations and a range of contradictory policy options from key advisers, President Bush on Tuesday delayed a planned announcement about a new strategy for the war in Iraq until the new year.

The administration had said the president would address the nation before Christmas but scrapped those plans as Bush grapples with a host of proposals for adjusting policy in the increasingly unpopular and costly war.

“He decided, frankly, that it’s not ready yet,” press secretary Tony Snow said. He did not offer a specific date for the speech, telling reporters it “is not going to happen until the new year.”

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group last week issued a report calling the situation in Iraq “grave and deteriorating,” while recommending fundamental changes in how the Bush administration handles the war.

Also, the White House is conducting its own crash review of its war strategy.

Meanwhile, Bush continued a series of highly visible briefings and meetings Tuesday, first with military commanders and later with Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi.

“It shouldn’t be surprising that he wants to take the time to digest that, to discuss it with his senior advisers, and then to put forward a way forward,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters.


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Zimbabwe leader calls assassination attempt ‘cowardly act’

UPDATED: 8:14 p.m.

Zimbabwe’s president was unscathed Saturday by an explosion at a campaign rally that state media called an attempt to assassinate him, later visiting his two injured vice presidents and declaring the “cowardly act” will not disrupt next month’s historic elections.