Beijing, Nov. 20 (Reuters): US President George W. Bush today all but apologised to a hawkish Democrat who the White House had called a liberal like American filmmaker Michael Moore for demanding an immediate US pullout from Iraq.
Bush, dogged by questions about Iraq during a weeklong Asia tour, tried to cool partisan tempers in Washington that flared over the withdrawal demand by Pennsylvania Democratic Republican John Murtha. One Republican had called Murtha a coward.
“Congressman Murtha is a fine man, a good man who served our country with honour and distinction as a Marine in Vietnam and as a US congressman,” Bush said.
He did not repeat the White House accusation that Murtha was from the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party like Moore, the Fahrenheit 9/11 filmmaker who is a liberal celebrity loathed by American conservatives.
“I know that the decision to call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops by congressman Murtha was done in a careful and thoughtful way. I disagree with his position,” Bush said.
Many Democrats have called on Bush to present a plan to end the war and an estimate of when US forces can start to be withdrawn based on conditions on the ground.