President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, each facing pressure to pull back from a long, unpopular war, are gauging the ability of Iraq's new government to shoulder a bigger role. But Bush's spokesman said Thursday the two leaders are not about to declare, "We're all coming home."
Blair flew to Washington for talks Thursday evening and Friday with Bush. The prime minister was reporting on his discussions in Baghdad Monday with Iraq's new prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, who said his forces are capable of taking control of security in all Iraqi provinces within 18 months. Bush and Blair planned to discuss whether al-Maliki's assertion was realistic.
"We'll see if he's able to follow through on it," White House press secretary Tony Snow said. "It's an interesting question."
Bush and Blair were to hold a White House news conference Thursday evening.