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President Bush to hold news conference Thursday evening

Pres. Bush nes conference
President George W. Bush will hold his first prime-time news conference tonight at 8 p.m. ET.  

By Kelly Wallace
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush will hold a news conference from the East Room of the White House on Thursday evening "to discuss with the American people the latest developments in the war against terrorism," the White House announced earlier in the day.

This will be Bush's first prime-time news conference of his presidency, and the first evening news conference since then-President Clinton appeared before reporters on April 18, 1995.

Bush, during a morning memorial service at the Pentagon to honor those killed in Virginia, New York, and Pennsylvania last month, conveyed to the families who lost loved ones that America will not forget and that America will also prevail in this fight against terrorism.

The president spoke to the king of Morocco and with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan Thursday morning, and met with his National Security Council team before traveling to the Pentagon late in the morning.

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Bush will chair a meeting of his Cabinet on Thursday afternoon to discuss the war against terrorism and the administration's domestic agenda, Fleischer said.

When asked if the vice president would attend the cabinet meeting, Fleischer said, "As always, we'll let you know about his locations. He is in a secure location."

CNN was shown a copy of the seating chart for the Cabinet meeting and Cheney's name was not on it.

The vice president cannot attend the meeting via video conference, Fleischer said, because the Cabinet room does not contain such equipment.

"I'm sure he will be fully briefed on the events" if he does not attend, Fleischer said.

In other developments, Fleischer said he does not have any information on rumors that suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden has been captured.

"I just don't have any information on that," he said.

Fleischer said the White House is considering a request from the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television network to do an interview with President Bush.

He also said that Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, who spoke with television networks Wednesday, may be making calls to print media executives to convey the administration's concern about broadcasting or printing any messages from bin Laden or his spokesmen in their "entirety" due to concerns the statements could include coded messages for terrorist cells.

Fleischer also could not confirm or deny a report in Thursday's New York Times that said that Saudi Arabia has so far refused to freeze the assets of bin Laden and his associates.


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