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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 September, 2003, 07:13 GMT 08:13 UK
Pressure builds on Bush

Rob Watson
By Rob Watson
BBC Washington correspondent

There is a clear sense in this most political of cities that this could get very nasty for the Bush administration.

Just how nasty probably depends on the extent of White House involvement in the leaking of the identity of Joe Wilson's wife.

President George W Bush
Accusations could be disastrous for Bush
If it could be shown that either President Bush or any of his closest aides were involved in the leaks, it could be disastrous for the administration.

So far though, White House officials are insisting neither the president nor his closest political adviser Karl Rove had anything to do with it.

Indeed, a presidential spokesman has said there is no evidence of any White House involvement beyond the reports in the media.

But both the Washington media and the president's political opponents are sensing blood.

The White House is under siege from reporters asking awkward questions while Democrats are demanding congressional inquiries and even the appointment of the same kind of independent counsel used to investigate presidents Clinton and Nixon.

Overall, it could not have come at a worse time for President Bush.

Opinion polls show his popularity at its lowest since the 11 September attacks.

Much of the drop in support, according to the polls, attributable to his post-war handling of Iraq.

The last thing the president needs now is for there to be a renewed focus on events leading up to the war.


SEE ALSO:
White House denies agent leak
29 Sep 03  |  Americas
Niger may sue over uranium slur
07 Aug 03  |  Africa
CIA 'questioned UK uranium claim'
31 Jul 03  |  Politics
Q&A: The Niger link
15 Jul 03  |  Americas
Aide takes blame for uranium claim
22 Jul 03  |  Americas
Bush backs CIA chief
12 Jul 03  |  Americas


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