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Monday, December 18, 2006
No 'big disagreement' between Bush and Powell
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said Monday that no "big disagreement" exists between President Bush and Colin Powell, despite the former secretary of state's comments Sunday that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war and the United States is losing there.

On CBS's "Face the Nation," Powell told host Bob Schieffer, "If it's grave and deteriorating and we're not winning, we are losing. We haven't lost. And this is the time, now, to start to put in place the kinds of strategies that will turn this situation around."

"That's his characterization of the situation," Snow told reporters Monday, adding that Powell and the president agree on the goals a new Iraq strategy must pursue. "He also made it clear that, in his view, that the proper -- that he suspected that the president was going to pursue a strategy that would, in fact, attack the kinds of problems that we're discussing -- political reconciliation, building capability among the Iraqis, the recognition that the Iraqis, themselves, ultimately had to have responsibility for taking care of things, and that, again, whatever you did, you had to make sure that the military had a clear mission. I don't see any big disagreement"

Snow also downplayed Powell's description of the situation as a "civil war," a label that the administration has rejected.

"What he talks about is the most serious phase began earlier this year, with the blowing up of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, that turned into sect-on-sect violence, communitarian violence, which is what I think is generated into what some of us are calling, anyway, a civil war," Snow said. "That's what he's calling; we call it a situation of alarming sectarian violence."

-- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
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