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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 02:59 GMT 03:59 UK
Bush defends Blair over Iraq
By Justin Webb
BBC Washington correspondent

US President George W Bush has defended UK Prime Minister Tony Blair over allegations he exaggerated evidence of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

But a leading contender for the Democratic party's presidential nomination has accused the president of misleading the American people.

President Bush is, it seems, frustrated, even annoyed by the British debate on weapons of mass destruction and perhaps concerned that a similar row could engulf him as well.

So whereas in the past the president has offered warm but general praise of Mr Blair, on this occasion he got involved in more detail.

He operated on very sound intelligence and those accusations are simply not true
Bush on Blair

Mr Bush said those who accuse the British Prime Minister of exaggerating the threat from Iraq before the war were wrong.

Mr Blair operated on very sound intelligence, said the president, and those accusations were simply not true.

As committees of both Houses of Congress continue with private inquiries into the subject, the leading Democratic presidential hopeful, Senator John Kerry, has made his strongest attack yet on the administration's position.

Senator Kerry, who supported the war, said the president had misled "every one of us".

The senator promised that Congress would, as he put it, "get to the bottom of things".

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