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America's New War: Global Coalition to Combat Terrorism

Aired September 18, 2001 - 05:31   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: President Bush is focusing his attention now on building a global coalition to combat terrorism and planning specific U.S. reaction to last week's attack on America. But as CNN's John King reports the nation's shaky economy is adding to the president's concerns.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESP.: Rallying the troops at the Pentagon and talking tough at the mention of Osama bin Laden.

REPORTER: Do you want bin laden dead?

GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want him - I want- I want justice. And there's an old poster out west, as I recall, that said, "Wanted: Dead or Alive."

KING: More tough talk at the White House. Current U.S. law forbids assassination but the president's spokesman pointedly noted there are exceptions.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The executive order does not limit the United State's ability to act in self-defense.

REPORTER: And is going after bin Laden an act of self-defense?

FLEISCHER: I'm not going to define all of the steps that may or may not be taken.

KING: This Pentagon meeting dealt with the coming call up of National Guard and Reserve forces. And key advisors were at the White House earlier in the day to discuss a menu of military options that include sending elite infantry troops into Afghanistan.

U.S. officials reported progress on the diplomatic front. Sources tell CNN Pakistan, Russia and India are among the nations sharing their intelligence on the bin Laden organization. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates promised to scale back ties with Afghanistan's ruling Taliban and French President Jacques Chirac and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed to come to Washington this week to block strategy.

The White House said the rocky first day back on Wall Street was to be expected but there was a sense of urgency as the president huddled with top economic advisors to discuss a multi-billion dollar emergency aid package to the airlines industry and an emergency mix of new spending and a capital gains tax cut to help Wall Street and the broader economy.

BUSH: I'm confident we can work with Congress to come up with an economic stimulus package if need be that will send a clear signal to the risk takers and capital formatters of our country that the government's going to act, too.

KING: One senior aide described the president as "a little tired, sometimes frustrated but always engaged" as he confronts the two biggest challenges posed by last week's terrorist attacks. Planning a military campaign officials say will be anything but conventional in trying to keep an economy that already was struggling from sliding into recession.

John King, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

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