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Published: Tuesday, 9/13/2005

Bush will address nation Thursday

WASHINGTON President Bush is balancing a harried schedule of diplomatic duties from Iraq to China and the United Nations while working to stay on top of hurricane recovery efforts that most Americans say should be his No. 1 priority.

I can do more than one thing at one time, the president assured Monday on the first of two planned visits this week to the Gulf Coast. He s fitting those in between meetings with world leaders who came to the United States for a gathering of the United Nations in New York

Bush planned to publicly thank the global community for their contributions to storm relief but focus his speech on international issues like terrorism, trade and debt relief.

As Bush was preparing to leave today for the United Nations, the White House announced that he will address the nation Thursday in his first prime-time speech since the Hurricane Katrina disaster. He will speak from Louisiana at 9 p.m. EDT as he again visits the hurricane-ravaged area.

The president will talk to the American people about the recovery and the way forward on the longer-term rebuilding, said White House press secretary Scott McClellan.

Earlier today, Bush was hosting Iraqi President Jalal Talabani for a closed-door meeting in the Oval Office, followed by a joint news conference in the East Room and a private lunch in the executive residence.

The meeting comes as the Bush administration s top envoy in Iraq is warning that the U.S. is running out of patience with Syrian interference across the border and refusing to rule out military strikes or punishment from the United Nations in retaliation.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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