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Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Pelosi misses Petraeus' congressional Iraq briefing

Petraeus will brief lawmakers on Iraq Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, does not plan to attend Gen. David Petraeus' briefing for lawmakers Wednesday, and instead had a one-on-one phone briefing with the him Tuesday night, according to an aide.

Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami told CNN the Speaker realized "first thing (Tuesday) morning" she had a scheduling conflict and could not attend the all-House members briefing Wednesday, so her office tried to set up a special, face-to-face meeting with the General.

Petraeus was unable to meet in person, so the two talked by phone for about 30 minutes on Tuesday. Elshami insisted it was not meant as a slight, and that it turned out to be even more beneficial for Pelosi to have the chance to hear from Petraeus and ask questions independently.

"It worked out perfectly," said Elshami, "I'm sure she got a lot more out of that conversation than sitting in a room with 400 other members of congress." Elshami said he did not know what on Pelosi's schedule prevented her from attending the briefing.

President Bush said Petraeus plans to come to Capitol Hill to try to convince lawmakers the so-called "surge" is showing progress.

Pelolsi's aide said she "showed her respect" for Petraeus by making sure she talked to him, but also said the Speaker "wouldn't be pushing for this bill if she didn't think there needs to be a change in Iraq strategy."

Petraeus' briefing for House members is scheduled for just a few hours before the House votes on a spending bill that includes an order for troops to start coming home. He will have a separate meeting afterwards with Senators.

-- CNN Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash
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