CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Showdown Iraq: President Bush's Speech
Aired October 7, 2002 - 12:07 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: President Bush is asking for your undivided attention tonight, as he explains why he believes Iraq poses an immediate threat, and why military action may be necessary.
CNN's Kelly Wallace is standing by over at the White House; Jane Arraf in Baghdad for us. And we're going to continue to cover all of these stories.
Let's check in with Kelly over at the White House.
Kelly -- give us a little preview of what we can expect to hear from President Bush tonight.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, aides say the president really wants to educate the American people about why he believes Saddam Hussein is a dangerous man, and why he believes he poses really an imminent threat to the U.S. and the world.
He is also going to do something else, try to answer some lingering questions about his tough stance when it comes to Iraq, such as, why now? Why does he feel the need deal with Saddam Hussein now? And again, why does he believe he poses such a unique threat to the country and the world?
He's also going to do something else, Wolf. He's going to try and, with his words, put some pressure on lawmakers in the House and in the Senate. The president is hoping to get the largest margin of victory in both Houses when lawmakers vote on that resolution, giving him the authority to use military force, if necessary, to deal with Iraq.
The thinking is, the administration believes, if the president sees strong, overwhelming votes in both Houses, that would really strengthen his hand and help convince skeptical allies, such as France and Russia, to go ahead and back that tough U.N. resolution the administration is fighting for -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Kelly, any idea how long the president is going to be speaking tonight, the major thrust of his remarks.
WALLACE: Yes, aides say it will be about 25 minutes in length, and of course, it will be in prime time -- this his first prime time address on Iraq.
And what he'll do is really lay out in a concise way, the most comprehensive way so far, directly to the American people about how he sees this debate, why he believes Saddam Hussein is a threat, lay out how he has violated U.N. resolutions over the past several years, talk about his chemical, biological and efforts to get nuclear materials.
No explosive new evidence expected in this speech, Wolf, and no major policy initiatives. Really, the goal is to educate the American people, but also to get the support of the American people and the Congress for his tough stance against Saddam Hussein -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Kelly Wallace at the White House, thanks for that report.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com.