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Friday, December 8

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Editor's Note: The CNN Wire is a running log of the latest news from CNN World Headquarters, reported by CNN's correspondents and producers, and The CNN Wire editors. "Posted" times are Eastern Daylight.

Hastert offers farewell as he prepares to head for back benches

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Headed for the minority and the back benches come January, House Speaker Dennis Hastert offered his valedictory to colleagues Friday night, saying he was "proud to be part of this unique time in the history of our country."

"Eight years ago, when you elected me as your speaker, I said at the time that it was not a job which I sought, but it was one which I would embrace with enthusiasm and determination," Hastert said. "Each day since then, I have tried to do my very best."

"The challenges have been great, but so too has been the honor of serving this institution and each of you."

Hastert, 64, decided to step down as the top House Republican leader in November, after Democrats won a majority in the midterm elections, ending 12 years of GOP control. Though he will leave the speaker's post when the new Congress convenes, he will remain in the House representing Illinois' 14th District. "Power will change, without a shot being fired, peacefully, as the Founding Fathers intended," Hastert said. "I'll be privileged to rejoin you, on these benches, where my heart is -- here, on the floor of this great House." (Posted 10:14 p.m.)

Reports: At least 42 dead in Moscow hospital fire

MOSCOW (CNN) -- A fire at a Moscow rehabilitation hospital has killed at least 42 people, according to media reports, and fire officials said they believe the cause of the blaze may have been arson.

Preliminary reports indicate all those who died were patients at the No. 17 rehabilitation hospital, the nation's largest facility for treatment of substance abuse. A number of people were also injured in the blaze, which broke out about 2 a.m. Saturday (6 p.m. Friday ET).

Media reports said 214 people were evacuated from the burning building. Fire officials told CNN affiliate CTV they are 90 percent sure the fire was deliberately set. They said they previously had taken the hospital to court over its fire safety, but the court only issued a warning, CTV said. (Posted 9:58 p.m.)

Gunman kills 3 in Chicago law office before being shot dead by police

CHICAGO (CNN) -- A man walked into a downtown Chicago law office Friday, fatally shot three people and injured a fourth before he was fatally shot by police, authorities said.

The incident occurred about 3:50 p.m. (4:50 p.m. ET) in a law office located at the Citicorp Center, Chicago Police Superintendent Philip J. Cline told reporters. The man was armed with a snubnose revolver, a knife and a mini sledgehammer when he went into the law office, Cline said. After the shootings, he grabbed a hostage, alternately holding the gun to the hostage's head and his own head, before a SWAT officer shot him. The gunman also may have shot himself before he died, Cline said, adding authorities will not know until his body is autopsied.

The three victims were all males, and all died from gunshots, Cline said. The fourth victim, a woman, was in stable condition at a hospital. The hostage was not injured, he said. (Posted 9:09 p.m.)

Report: Concerns about Foley date back to 1995

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Concerns about former Rep. Mark Foley's interactions with teenage pages and young male congressional staffers began to arise shortly after he arrived on Capitol Hill in 1995, but pages were not routinely warned to be on guard around the Florida Republican, as some media reports have claimed, according to an investigative report released Friday.

The House ethics committee's report said Foley's former chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, and former House Clerk Jeff Trandahl both testified that they raised concerns with Foley "directly on multiple occasions" throughout his congressional tenure, although those concerns "were not the result of either knowledge or suspicion that Foley was engaged in improper contact with pages or other young staffers."

Instead, Fordham and Trandahl were concerned about "the possibility that any close interaction between Foley and pages or other young male staff could create an appearance problem for Foley, in light of his status as a closeted homosexual," the report said. The ethics committee concluded that because there was no evidence at the time of improper contact, Fordham and Trandahl acted reasonably in not taking further action beyond confronting Foley. (Posted 8:51 p.m.)

Report: Democratic staffer sent Foley e-mails to at least 4 media outlets

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A staff member of the House Democratic Caucus sent at least four media organizations copies of e-mails between former Rep. Mark Foley and a former teenage male page from Louisiana nearly a year before they became public, according to an investigative report released Friday by the House ethics committee.

Media reports on those e-mails in late September led to Foley's resignation and triggered a public firestorm that dimmed the political prospects of House Republicans, who lost their majority in November. At the time, a number of Republicans charged their dissemination was a politically motivated maneuver by Democrats.

According to the report, Matt Miller gave a deposition to the committee in which he testified that in the fall of 2005, when he was communications director for the House Democratic Caucus, he received a copy of the e-mails from a colleague in his office and sent them to the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, the Miami Herald and Roll Call, as well as Harper's Magazine "and possibly others."

Miller told the committee that he gave the e-mails to the media because he thought they were inappropriate and that that "nothing would come" of giving them either to the ethics committee or the House Page Board, which oversees the page program, the report said. (Posted 8:09 p.m.)

Ethics panel: House GOP leaders 'willfully ignorant' in Foley affair

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House ethics committee Friday issued a sharply worded rebuke of the way GOP leaders and staff handled allegations of misconduct by former Rep. Mark Foley, but the panel took no disciplinary action after concluding that no current lawmakers or staff under its jurisdiction broke any House rules.

The committee's report said many of the people who knew about improper communications between Foley and teenage male House pages opted to remain "willfully ignorant" and shift responsibility for dealing with his misconduct to others, rather than taking firm action themselves.

"The failure to exhaust all reasonable efforts to call attention to potential misconduct involving a member and a House page is not merely the exercise of poor judgment -- it is a present danger to House pages and to the integrity of the institution," the report said.

The committee concluded that both political considerations and fear that an aggressive investigation could have led to public disclosure that Foley is gay may have played a role in what the report characterized as a "disconcerting unwillingness to take responsibility." (Posted 7:21 p.m.)

Officials: 6-party talks to resume Dec. 16

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Six-party talks aimed at persuading North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program will take place Dec. 16 in Beijing, senior administration officials told CNN Friday.

An announcement from the Chinese government on the talks is expected over the weekend, the officials said.

Christopher Hill, the U.S. envoy to the talks, has made several trips to China, where he met with his counterparts, including the North Koreans, to prepare for the talks. The United States has said it wants a successful round of discussions and not just talk.

Between the talks with the North Koreans and discussions with the Chinese, the United States feels there is a "better than fair chance we can move the process along in this round," one of the senior officials said. However, the official noted, the upcoming round is not the last round. -- From CNN State Department Producer Elise Labott (Posted 6:59 p.m.)

E. coli outbreak now in 6 states, possibly sickening more than 100 people

NEW YORK (CNN) -- More than 120 people in six states may be infected with the strain of E. coli bacteria involved in an outbreak that may be linked to Taco Bell restaurants, officials said Friday.

Sixty-two "probable or confirmed" cases have been identified, the Food and Drug Administration said Friday afternoon, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"A significant percentage of cases resulted in hospitalization," the FDA said in a written statement.

Earlier, state health agencies said about 60 other cases were under investigation. South Carolina and Utah are the latest states to report outbreaks.

State and federal agencies are still trying to pin down the source, but the CDC says the vast majority of the reported cases involved people who had eaten at Taco Bell restaurants before falling ill. (Posted 6:26 p.m.)

Rice: Iran, Syria will help stabilize Iraq if they want to

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Iran and Syria will help stabilize Iraq if they determine it's in their best interests to do so, regardless of whether they are invited to help by the United States, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.

"I have to believe that, if the assumption is that Iran does not want an unstable Iraq for whatever reason, or that Syria does not want an unstable Iraq, that they will act on that," Rice told reporters during an appearance with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

"If, in fact, they're looking for compensation to stop helping destablize Iraq, that's another matter altogether," she said, "because one would have to ask: What compensation are they looking for?"

She said she would be willing to meet with her Iranian counterpart "any place, any time, anywhere" provided Iran suspend their activities involving the enrichment of uranium "so that they can't keep improving those enrichment capabilities while we talk."

"That's the offer," she said. "It's still on the table." (Posted 5:58 p.m.)

Hastert glad ethics panel 'made clear' no House rules broken

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Outgoing House Speaker Dennis Hastert said Friday that he is glad the House ethics committee "made clear" that no House rules were broken by members and staff involved in allegations of improper conduct by former Rep. Mark Foley.

However, in a statement issued after the ethics panel released its report on the Foley scandal, Hastert did not address the committee's conclusion that some people who knew about Foley's questionable communications with House pages chose to "remain willfully ignorant," rather than confront the matter head on.

Hastert said he and his staff "voluntarily and fully cooperated" with the committee's investigation.

"I am glad the committee made clear that there was no violation of any House rules by any member or staff," Hastert said. He also cited a portion of the report in which the ethics panel said it found no evidence any House member or employee knew about sexually explicit instant messages between Foley and a former male page until they became public when Foley resigned in September.

Hastert also called on the next Congress to adopt recommendations made by the panel to "better protect our pages in the future." (Posted 4:47 p.m.)

House committee: House leaders 'negligent' in Foley case

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A congressional panel said Friday that House Republican leaders were negligent by not protecting male teenage pages from possible improper advances from Rep. Mark Foley, who resigned from Congress in September.

The House Ethics Committee concluded that no rules were broken, and no one will be reprimanded in the case, said committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash.

Foley left office after learning that the media had obtained copies of sexually graphic instant messages he had sent to one or more former House pages.

The probe was carried out by a subcommittee of two Republicans and two Democrats, and the committee's report is posted on its Web site.

At a brief news conference, Hastings said the subcommittee spent more than 100 hours interviewing over 50 witnesses, most of whom were cooperative.

And Howard Berman, the committee's ranking Democrat, said, "This is not the jerry-rigged result of a series of compromises, but rather the right report on this subject." (Posted 3:18 p.m.)

Illinois man charged in mall grenade plot

ROCKFORD, Ill. (CNN) -- An Illinois man has been arrested and charged "with allegedly planning to set off several grenades in garbage cans at a shopping mall in Rockford," federal authorities said Friday.

Agents from the FBI-led Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Derrick Shareef, 22, of Rockford "without incident" Wednesday when "he met with an undercover agent at a store parking lot in Rockford to trade a set of stereo speakers for four hand grenades and a hand gun," according to a release issued by the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

The charges are one count of attempting to damage or destroy a building by fire or explosion and one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

"Shareef allegedly planned to set off grenades at the CherryVale Shopping Mall, near the junction of Interstate 90 and Interstate 39 on the east side of Rockford," it said. Rockford is about 90 miles west of Chicago. (Posted 2:16 p.m.)

8 killed in Iraq attacks

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Attackers in Baghdad and Tal Afar on Friday killed eight people, authorities told CNN.

Police and hospital officials in Tal Afar told CNN that three people were killed and 15 were wounded when a suicide car bomb slammed into an Iraqi army checkpoint in the Muthnan neighborhood of the northern Iraqi city -- which is west of Mosul in Nineveh province. Twelve of those wounded were soldiers.

A mortar attack killed four people and wounded eight in the southeastern Baghdad district of Nahrawan. Gunmen killed one person and wounded three in the southwestern Baghdad neighborhood of Amil.

Police found 53 slain bodies, all thought to be victims of sectarian violence. Eighteen bodies were found Friday after 35 were found Thursday.--From Mohammed Tawfeeq (Posted 1:40 p.m.)

Long-delayed dismantling of bank building at WTC site now under way

NEW YORK (CNN) -- More than five years after the attack on the World Trade Center, the final damaged building left standing at "ground zero" is being dismantled.

Demolition of the 41-story former Deutsche Bank building began Friday morning and is expected to take at least a year.

The space will become the home of Tower 5 and the vehicle security center for the Freedom Tower, as well as a new Greek Orthodox Church, replacing the one destroyed by the attack, according to Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman.

Work on the Deutsche Bank building, which has been seen as a symbol of inaction, has been mired by delays. --From CNN's Chris Kokenes (Posted 1:33 p.m.)

Wesley Snipes surrenders, posts $1 million bond on tax charges

OCALA, Fla. (CNN) -- Wesley Snipes returned to the United States on Friday and surrendered to federal authorities on tax fraud charges.

Snipes, who was in Africa filming a motion picture when charged in October, was allowed to post a $1 million bond that grants him permission to return to Africa until Jan. 10.

During a hearing before a federal magistrate judge, Snipes entered a not guilty plea to charges that he failed to pay tens of millions of dollars in federal income tax.

On Oct. 17, Justice Department and IRS officials issued an arrest warrant for Snipes that charges him with conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and presenting a fraudulent claim for payment to the IRS, said Middle Florida U.S. Attorney Paul Perez. Snipes also is charged with six counts of failing to file income tax returns, Perez said. (Posted 1:26 p.m.)

Next week a meeting week for Bush on Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush will focus on Iraq in the coming week with a series of key briefings, and he hopes to address the nation before Christmas Day on the way forward in the war-ravaged country, a White House spokeswoman said Friday.

The meetings were announced two days after the Iraq Study Group report called the situation "grave and deteriorating" and recommended changes in the U.S. policy in Iraq, which is wracked by sectarian warfare.

On Monday, Bush will meet with senior State Department officials and outside experts, spokeswoman Dana Perino said. On Tuesday, he will hold a teleconference with military commanders and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, and on Wednesday he will go to the Pentagon for meetings with senior defense officials on Iraq.

Perino told reporters the president will digest all of the information he receives -- from ISG, Pentagon and National Security Council reports and from next week's briefings, for example -- and boil that down to a position on how to proceed in Iraq. (Posted 1:19 p.m.)

New rules require U.S. mine operators to boost emergency preparedness

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- After a year in which 70 miners died in accidents at the nation's mines, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration issued new rules Friday requiring mine operators nationwide to adopt measures to protect miners in the event of an emergency.

The rules require operators to increase the availability of emergency breathing devices, provide improved training on the devices, improve emergency evacuation and drill training, install lifelines for emergency evacuation and immediately notify MSHA in the event of an accident.

The rules provide regulatory language to carry out the instructions laid out in the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in June. (Posted 12:40 p.m.)

In Chicago, man arrested in alleged hand-grenade plot

CHICAGO (CNN) -- A 22-year-old man was arrested in Chicago this week in connection with a plot to detonate explosives in malls, a federal law enforcement source told CNN.

The man -- described as a U.S. citizen named Derrick Shareef -- faces charges for allegedly planning to set off hand grenades in garbage cans in malls over the holiday season.

He was arrested Wednesday, the source said.

He will be charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and with planning to damage or destroy buildings by fire or explosion, the source said. (Posted 12:25 p.m.)

2 U.S. soldiers killed south of Baghdad

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A roadside bomb killed two U.S. soldiers south of Baghdad on Thursday, the U.S. military said.

A Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol was "responding to a possible IED, south of the city, when a roadside bomb detonated, killing two soldiers and wounding two others," the military said. IEDs are improvised explosive devices.

The two are among three U.S. service members killed in Iraq on Thursday. The military reported earlier that a U.S. soldier was killed in Baghdad when a roadside bomb exploded near his patrol. (Posted 11:54 p.m.)

Rumsfeld bids good-bye to Pentagon employees

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who announced his resignation the day after Republicans lost the House and Senate, said an emotional good-bye Friday to Pentagon employees at his last town hall meeting. He has one more week in the job.

He will be replaced Dec. 18, when Robert Gates takes the oath of office. The department will hold a departure ceremony next Friday.

Rumsfeld, 74, answered many questions with his characteristically good humor.

Asked how he wanted history to remember him, he quipped, "Better than the local press." (Posted 11:31 a.m.)

Pilot program allowing some non-flyers beyond checkpoints at 2 airports

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Guests at airport hotels in Dallas/Fort Worth and Detroit are being allowed to pass through airport security checkpoints to shop at stores and restaurants or meet guests under a pilot program being conducted by the Transportation Security Administration.

"We want to work with airports to do innovative things and keep commerce moving," TSA spokesman Ellen Howe said. The agency is open to new approaches so long as there is no adverse impact on security, she said. That is one of the things the pilot program will be evaluating, as well as the impact on ticket-holding travelers' wait times at checkpoints.

The program is slated to run for six months, and could be extended to a year. The TSA is still considering whether to expand the test to the Pittsburgh airport. --From Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve (Posted 10:50 a.m.)

Commander in Iraq: U.S. winning on the battlefield

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A top U.S. commander in Iraq asserted Friday that the U.S. military is winning on the battlefield in war-torn Iraq, even though the entire mission's strategic objectives aren't being met fast enough.

And he appeared optimistic about the chances of removing all U.S. combat forces from Iraq by the first quarter of 2008 if the proper steps are taken toward national reconciliation in Iraq.

"I happen to believe that we have done everything militarily we possibly can," said Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, commander of the Multi-National Corps-Iraq, adding that "the situation would be far worse ... if it were not for the American heroes that are out on the street every day in Baghdad."

He briefed reporters via teleconference at the Pentagon two days after the release of the Iraq Study Group report, which called the situation in Iraq "grave and deteriorating." (Posted 10:43 a.m.)

Former U.N. ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick dies

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick has died, according to the American Enterprise Institute, where she was a senior fellow. She died Thursday.

"The United States has lost a great patriot and champion of freedom, and AEI mourns our beloved colleague," the announcement said.

A staunch conservative, Kirkpatrick was the first woman appointed to serve as permanent representative of the United States to the United Nations and as a member of Ronald Reagan's Cabinet and National Security Council.

Kirkpatrick, 80, was an American conservative political scientist, an ardent anticommunist, who became famous for her Kirkpatrick doctrine. It was her position that the United States should support anticommunist governments around the world, even authoritarian dictatorships.

After her retirement from government Kirkpatrick returned to her previous positions as Leavey professor of government at Georgetown University and as senior fellow at AEI. (Posted 10:28 a.m.)

Lebanon's Siniora accuses Hezbollah leader of trying to stage coup

BEIRUT (CNN) -- Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora accused militant Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Friday of trying to stage a coup against his Western-backed government, and said any such plot won't work because Lebanon is a country of consensus.

As the eighth day of anti-government protests raged outside his ministry, Siniora gave a televised address in which he responded to comments Nasrallah made against him and the March 14 political movement the night before.

The demonstrations begun Dec. 1 by Hezbollah members and pro-Syrian militants are aimed at toppling the government. (Posted 10:20 a.m.)

Job market shows strength

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Employers added more jobs than expected in November, according to the closely watched government jobs report that also showed the unemployment rate edging higher from a five-year low.

Job growth came in at 132,000 in November, according to the Labor Department, up from the revised 79,000 increase in October. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a gain of 105,000 jobs in the most recent period.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.5 percent from the 4.4 percent rate in October. Economists had forecast the rate would stay at 4.5 percent. (Posted 8:42 a.m.)

Tom Brady files suit against Yahoo

NEW YORK (CNN) -- New England Patriots star Tom Brady is suing Yahoo over the use of his photo in an advertisement for fantasy football.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in California, charges that Yahoo used an image of the quarterback, who has won three Super Bowls, without his permission.

The suit seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages for the ad, which ran in this year's football preview issue of Sports Illustrated as well as in Internet ads. The ad also show five other players. (Posted 8:33 a.m.)

Bad weather likely to hamper Discovery's second launch attempt Saturday

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (CNN) -- Discovery may not get off the ground this weekend due to declining weather conditions following Thursday's postponed shuttle launch.

On Friday, a Kennedy Space Center weather team reported there was a 70 percent chance for a no-go Saturday and a 60 percent chance for a no-go Sunday.

Managers postponed NASA's first nighttime space shuttle launch in four years due to cloudy skies Thursday.

The clouds started rolling in above the space center mid-afternoon Thursday while temperatures dropped and winds increased, NASA spokesman Bruce Buckingham said.

NASA has scheduled the next launch attempt for Saturday at 8:47 p.m. If that flight fails the next attempt will be made Sunday, according to the Kennedy Space Center weather team. (Posted 8:01 a.m.)

Truck-ignited brush fire consumes an estimated 6,000 acres in California

BAKERSVILLE, Calif. (CNN) -- A brush fire sparked by a burning pickup truck off a major interstate in Southern California consumed an estimated 6,000 acres of land on the Fort Tejon Ranch overnight and could continue to burn throughout the day Friday, a fire official told CNN.

Fueled by low humidity and winds gusting above 35 mph, the fire quickly spread in a hilly area about 75 miles north of Los Angeles, along Interstate 5, Kern County Fire Department Chief Rich Hall said early Friday morning.

The blaze began after a motorist having difficulties with his pick-up truck pulled over on I-5.

"The fire started in the engine compartment and before crews were on the scene the winds picked up and blew the fire into the grass," Hall said.

Bulldozers, engine crews and more than 100 firefighters worked overnight to control the fire, which was about 40 percent contained by early Friday, he said. In addition to Kern County, Los Angeles County Fire Department and the California Department of Forestry firefighters were assisting with the blaze. (Posted 7:17 a.m.)

Coalition forces kill 20 insurgents, destroy multiple weapons caches in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The U.S. military said coalition forces killed 20 insurgents, destroyed multiple weapons caches and arrested seven suspected terrorists during two separate security sweeps in Iraq on Friday.

In one sweep, ground forces focused on an area thought to house al Qaeda in Iraq members.

Military sources said the incident took place in the Tharthar area 20 miles south of Samarra, in Salaheddin province -- which is north of the Baghdad.

During their search the troops were fired upon by gunmen hiding in a building and a firefight ensued. Two insurgents were killed in the gunfire exchange.

The military said coalition forces then called in an airstrike, killing 18 more.

After the gunfight the troops searched the building and found multiple weapons caches consisting of AK-47s, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, mines, explosives, blasting caps and suicide vests.

In Falluja, coalition forces uncovered a weapons cache hidden in a house during a search and arrested seven suspected terrorists, the military said.

Most of the weapons were buried in the floors throughout the house. (Posted 5:40 a.m.)

U.S. soldier dies in roadside bombing

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. soldier was killed in Baghdad Thursday when a roadside bomb exploded near his patrol, a military statement said Friday.

According to the military, the soldier was a member of the Army's Multi-National Division - Baghdad.

Since the start of the war, the U.S. military has suffered 2,923 fatalities in Iraq. (Posted 4:05 a.m.)

Man held at FBI's request in probe of elderly Atlanta woman's shooting

ATLANTA (CNN) -- A man booked on drug charges after a Nov. 21 drug raid that left an elderly Atlanta woman dead is being held in the Fulton County Jail at the request of the FBI in connection with the investigation into her death, CNN has confirmed.

A law enforcement source told CNN that an Atlanta police incident report alleges that the man, Fabian Sheats, 23, told police he saw a kilogram of cocaine inside Kathryn Johnston's home when he was arrested for drug possession on the day of the shooting.

Police later obtained a "no knock" warrant for the home, after sending in a confidential informant to buy cocaine at the residence.

Johnston, 88, was killed by officers after she allegedly opened fire on them as they entered her home. Three officers were injured but are expected to recover. (Posted 11:20 p.m.)

Oregon senator makes emotional break with Bush over Iraq war

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon made a dramatic break with President Bush on the Iraq war Thursday night, telling colleagues in an emotional speech on the Senate floor that he can no longer support a "lamentable" U.S. policy that has "failed."

Smith, a moderate who until now has been a supporter of the war, said he was at "the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs, day after day."

"That is absurd," Smith said. "It may even be criminal." Smith said while he doesn't believe Bush intentionally lied to get the United States into the war, he now thinks that "we have paid a price in blood and treasure that is beyond calculation" for a war waged due to bad intelligence. (Posted 10:05 p.m.)


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